An approach to fair ad blocking · 2009-05-11 18:04 by Wladimir Palant

Update: I summarized the feedback in a separate blog post. Please comment only if you have something to add.

As I stated many times before, my goal with Adblock Plus isn’t to destroy the advertising industry. In the end, the Internet does need money to run and ads are still the most universal way to distribute that money. The only problem is that ads are becoming increasingly intrusive and annoying as webmasters try to maximize their profits which is the main reason people install Adblock Plus. So the idea is to give control back to the users by allowing them to block annoying ads. Since the non-intrusive ads would be blocked less often it would encourage webmasters to use such ads, balance restored.

Now it isn’t a secret that Adblock Plus hasn’t been performing particularly well towards that goal. While users can theoretically choose not to block ads on some sites, most users simply install Adblock Plus, choose a filter subscription (which will block all ads without exceptions) and forget about Adblock Plus. Which is totally understandable — everything works so why should they do anything now? Currently only a tiny minority of users has Adblock Plus installed (somewhere around 5% of Firefox users) but the current trend discriminates webmasters in favor of users instead of restoring the balance.

There were quite a few discussions on that topic recently, most notably this proposal for considering webmaster’s wishes (which has obvious issues) and this forum topic discussing among other things the criteria for acceptable ads. I started thinking about this again and got an idea that should be relatively easy to implement and might actually work. First the requirements on the solution:

Now to the suggestion. When the user visits a site and some ads are blocked there, Adblock Plus could look for the following tag in the page source code:

<meta name="advertising" content="ask" />

(Update: meta tag changed, as suggested by Arne and other commenters)

A webmaster should insert this tag into his pages if he thinks that the ads used on his site aren’t intrusive. Adblock Plus will then check the browsing history to see whether the user frequents this site (this could be specified for example as “visited the site on three days of the last week”) and then display a notification like the following (unless a notification for this site was already shown recently):

It seems that you are a frequent visitor to The owner of this website indicated that no annoying advertising is used here. Would you like to disable Adblock Plus on to support it?

First button will open a new window and load the page the user is viewing right now without blocking anything. The user then has the choice between “Yes, disable Adblock Plus on” and “No, I don’t like this.” The latter should have the effect that the user isn’t asked again for this site (same as choosing “No, thanks” in the notification). Clicking “Ask me later” button or simply closing the notification will have the effect that the notification pops up again after some time (maybe a day).

I think this question won’t come up too often so it won’t become annoying. Also, I think that a negative decision wouldn’t be too common — provided that the webmaster has done his homework and the ads are really acceptable. Some open questions remain of course:

  1. There are some Adblock Plus users who just don’t want to see any ads at all. For those, there should be a way to opt-out of this feature — but it probably shouldn’t be too obvious, otherwise it will be used just for convenience. I think, the alternatives are a visible option (displayed in Adblock Plus menu as well as in preferences) and a hidden preference in about:config explained in the FAQ. The former might be too obvious, the later might bring the wrath of my users upon me. Which one should it be? Update: I think, the feedback is already clear on that — a visible option.
  2. How can I make reverting a positive decision easy? Many Adblock Plus users never find the Adblock Plus menu, so they aren’t aware of the “Disable on …” menu item there. Explaining it in the notification or the preview window is pointless, nobody will read that explanation. There should be an extremely obvious way to revert. Update: One option would be adding a context menu item “Adblock Plus: Block ads on this page again” on pages that have been whitelisted, this should be easy to find for most users.

What do you think, will that work? Will a significant number of users be convinced to whitelist their favorite sites? And will the webmasters be interested?

Please leave your comment either in this blog or in the forum (no registration required, simply click “post reply”). The forum should be better suited if your reply requires some discussion.


Comment [261]

  1. Daniel Macer · 2009-05-11 19:07 · #

    I like your thinking so far, as long as there is a relatively simple way to disable such requests. When I browse on my older computers, there are no resources to waste displaying extraneous content. Period. On the same note, many users regard any advertisement as mental pollution – and I’m somewhat inclined to agree.

    Hiding it in the “about:config” will only befuddle users who do not want to see any ads, but are not as computer savy. Just because a feature is controversial is no excuse to use the more arcane methods for fiddling with it. I’d recommend the option be a checkbox in the Preferences -> Options dropdown. Something to leave in the “about:config” might be variables that determine how frequent a site must be visited before prompting, and other hack-able goodies.

    Another issue is the potential for abuse of the meta tag. If this feature were implemented, I suspect a significant number of unscrupulous webmasters and smaller webmasters with less time to fiddle with “annoying” adverts will copy-paste the tag blindly. I would be more inclined to have Adblock note my popular websites that have ads blocked, and notify me of this option regardless of the tag. I don’t think anyone wants to start an advertisement approval board, and enforcement would be just as hard as blocking ads in the first place.

    Personally, I would disable this feature regardless, as I already selectively enable ads for sites I want to support. I think this is a good idea, but a lot of thought & debate needs to happen before implementation.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This tag is supposed to give the webmaster a chance to improve the user experience on the site before the user is asked. If the user sees this question but the ads don’t look like something he would accept – this site won’t get another chance for a pretty long time (worst case: until a new computer is bought). I hope this will be enough encouragement for the webmaster.

  2. Alex Papadimoulis · 2009-05-11 19:13 · #

    This is a very interesting idea, and I’m glad to see that you’re furthering the discussion. When I first came across the notion of “ad blocking”, I likened it to piracy. Sure, there’s no explicit rule/law (copyright) being violated, but it goes against the implicit social contract that the content is free so long as you’re willing to tolerate advertisements. However, after chatting with you and others, I have a better understanding of it.

    While I’m still ethically opposed to adblocking (don’t like a site’s ads? Don’t visit it), I understand that not everyone who adblocks is anti-advertising — just anti-obnoxious-advertising — and there’s no middle ground between “not visiting” and “not getting inundated with ads.” I think this proposal is a good step at bridging the gap.

    My only suggestion would be to optionally allow for some personalization from the author. Perhaps just including the name somewhere (another meta-tag perhaps). I think that would serve as a good reminder that there are real people who put real time and real money into building a website, and that the love for a hobby can only go so far.

  3. IceDogg · 2009-05-11 19:14 · #

    I see one problem with this right now. NO webmaster thinks their ads are ‘intrusive’.. this is a fact. Oh those inline popup links aren’t that bad.. are they? I’ve seen that on a couple of forum sites and YES they are right at the top of my most hated list. There needs to be some type of review or something where users can agree or disagree with the webmaster’s view of ‘intrusive ads’. Kind of like WOT does for sites in general..but this would be just for ads. Now that would be a lot of work and resources I know, but like I said NO webmaster thinks their own ads are to much, unless they are visiting other sites with the same ads of course.

    Then couldn’t this be used to see if a user is using ABP? If it reacts to this command in their page then wham they know you use ABP.. I’m I correct? Sorry if not, I’m no programmer, by any means.

    And I think you are going to get backlash from this no matter how you do it.. so the best is to make it VERY easy to access and discover (in order to disable), which as you stated most would do and make this worthless. I just don’t see many people that bother to install and setup (even though it’s easy it does take some time and effort) ABP wanting to allow many (if any) sites to display ads. And after the NoScript mess this will probably get worse.. for you that is.

    My opinion is respectfully against doing this.. in any form. Just my honest 2 cents worth. No offense is meant, I know you are trying to find a balance.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, webmasters have certainly their own view here – but for them this is a one-time shot. If they put this tag in there and the users disagree that the ads are acceptable – well, that site is now in the “don’t ask me again” list and won’t get another chance for quite a while. I think that should encourage webmasters to get user feedback first.

    No, this wouldn’t be a practicable solution to detect ABP. Even if the website could detect a “reaction” to this tag somehow (which it cannot), the reaction would be rare enough to make this way of detecting ABP users useless.

    I expect some backlash as well. Given that this is something that won’t be used all over the web overnight I don’t expect too much (unless Slashdot decides to misinform their readers once again of course). Note also that Adblock Plus has more than 10 million users – and most of them we never see. So I am not very convinced that most Adblock Plus users would reject that idea (even though you might get a different opinion from the forums, the Adblock Plus users communicating there aren’t very representative).

  4. Russ Jones · 2009-05-11 19:32 · #

    Your proposal is very reasonable and incredibly well thought.

    1. I imagine that it will be very rare that a person reads a site often that has the meta tag installed. The “nag” will most likely impact a very small number of users and, importantly, only 1 time.

    2. I think that you should make the disable feature fairly accessible. While I personally fall more on the side of supporting webmasters and authors, in this case I am more interested in just causing users to pause and think before they consciously decide to block all ads.

    3. Huzzah to you for really coming through with a thoughtful course of action.

  5. Robert · 2009-05-11 19:39 · #

    Given the fact that sooner or later every webmaster worth her salary will add the META element anyhow: Why not simply implement the browsing-history based approach without even requiring sites to opt in?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Because this is supposed to give the webmaster a chance to improve the user experience on the site before the user is asked. If the user sees this question but the ads don’t look like something he would accept – this site won’t get another chance for a pretty long time (worst case: until a new computer is bought).

  6. Dan · 2009-05-11 19:47 · #

    I think this will make ABP too annoying after every website adds the header. I think the way to go is to have a filter which allows the kind of ads that people don’t mind and blocks all others. This filter should then be promoted as the default. This way the friendly ads aren’t blocked and make some money for the site owners, and users don’t have to keep dealing with notifications that end up being more annoying than the ads. For me, friendly ads:

    Are low bandwidth.
    Don’t require a plugin.
    Don’t make a sound.
    Don’t move around the page.
    Don’t obscure any of the page.
    Aren’t animated.
    Aren’t too big.

    Only ads that are fulfill all of those things are OK in my opinion.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    It isn’t too hard to make sure that this question won’t come up too often (I was thinking about combining the criteria listed above with a random factor, maybe something with probability 1/20 or even less). The idea is certainly not to annoy users here.

    As to the filter list you are proposing – that’s another suggestion under discussion (though it will take considerably longer to implement). These suggestions aren’t mutually exclusive.

  7. Oodles of Noodles · 2009-05-11 20:22 · #

    If it ended up used by a lot of users, AND a lot of sites started abusing it, perhaps their could be a mechanism that lets filter list maintainers specify sites that lie? If only some people don’t like it ok, but if the webmaster just outright lies then spare the users.

  8. David · 2009-05-11 20:28 · #

    What I like the most about this idea is that it would make Adblock Plus (or some reasonable subset of its features) more likely to be accepted into Firefox proper. In the long run, such a change could lead to the demise of some of the most obnoxious ads on the web, similar to what pop-up–blocking has done to obnoxious pop-ups.

  9. reepicheep · 2009-05-11 20:33 · #

    I don’t trust web designers/site owners. They’ll declare that their web site has unobtrusive ads whether or not that is true. The only person who can make that decision is the one viewing the site. It’s an individual decision. For some a few ads are okay for others no ads are acceptable.

    If this feature is added then the default should be block. Let those trusting users turn that off so they can have (what appears to me to be) intrusive messages about possibly unintrusive ads.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The ads would still be blocked. However, on frequently visited sites you would sometimes (rarely) see a message like this one. And it is still your decision then. If you agree with the site owner – click “Don’t ask me again” and you will never be bothered again.

  10. P. · 2009-05-11 20:35 · #

    I already whitelist sites that I want to support or that I find use an acceptable amount of ads and if this proposed feature were to bother me I would just turn it off. I imagine many readers already do the same and feel the same way, simply because chances are that those who actually follow the blog might know more about technology than the average ABP user.

    I think this is a good idea but I guess any feedback you get here won’t be representative of your “average user”. Another problem I see is that whitelisting Adsense, for example, might give you some acceptable ads on site A but not on site B since Adsense ads are automatically chosen based on the site’s content.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    There will be a whitelisting entry for the site, not for the ads it embeds. Meaning that Adsense will stay blocked on site B unless you allow it there as well.

    Yes, I am fully aware that I cannot get representative feedback – but it is still better than no feedback at all ;)

  11. dave · 2009-05-11 20:37 · #

    Are you really sure about this?
    How do you want to prevent abuse? I doubt any bigger site will change their ads before they add this meta tag.
    Wouldn’t this get annoying?
    What will the userbase think? How will they react? (I suppose you know that slashdotters aren’t the nicest.)

    And one more thing: The extension is called “Adblock Plus”, not “AnnoyanceBlock Minus”.

    But you’re the developer, it’s your extension, so it’s your choice.


    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    How many sites do you visit frequently? My guess would be – no more than twenty. How often do you expect to see this question then? Even assuming that every single site on the Internet added this tag, I don’t think anybody will see that question more than once a week. Which is why I hope the userbase will understand this move.

  12. eupator · 2009-05-11 20:40 · #

    This idea doesn’t seem to be thought out very well. The problems I can think of are:

    * Site has to opt-in for it to work.

    * Your tag’s form doesn’t indicate its meaning.

    * Its meaning is not well defined. One man’s annoyance is not necessarily another’s.

    * There is no disincentive of any kind against using the tag indiscriminately, contrary to its intended purpose. In fact, if your idea was implemented, I’d expect it to be used (outside, perhaps, of Mozilla-related sites) more often illegitimately than legitimately. (Compare the fate of ‘trust marks’ and ‘site security seals’, see Peter Gutmann’s “Security Usability Fundamentals”.)

    * It goes against user expectations – I find myself more inclined to block ads on sites I visit often. (Several sites acknowledge this by using various techniques to avoid displaying ads to frequent visitors, so I guess I’m not alone in this.)

    A better idea (stolen from DNSBL) might be categorizing filters, with categories like click-through, flashing, shaking, having sound, intellitxt-style, mimicking OS alerts, animated, etc. This way, users could choose what to block (at the cost of increasing the burden of filter maintainers).

    [In the interest of disclosure, I am one of the weird users that doesn’t use an anti-ad subscription, writing his own filters instead.]

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, site has to opt-in – that’s very much intentional, see my replies to comments above.

    Do you have a better idea for the tag? I mean, the point of this discussion is to improve the proposal. I would prefer something that indicates webmaster’s responsibilities before using such a tag but I couldn’t think of anything so far.

    The meaning of “not annoying” is not defined and cannot be defined. It is up to the users to decide.

    As I mentioned above, it isn’t in webmaster’s interest to use this tag on a site with annoying ads.

    As I mentioned above – categorizing filters is under discussion, this idea and the proposal here aren’t mutually exclusive.

  13. Marsup · 2009-05-11 20:42 · #

    Forgiving the fact that most webmasters will obviously try to disable adblock, there is one thing that will keep me from viewing “acceptable ads”.

    Many sites don’t use only one advertising solution, so multiple patterns will match. While I’d tolerate some non-intrusive ads, this feature would be all or none. So I’ll very often prefer to completely block everything. I’d prefer to be able to disable rule by rule on one site rather than everything for the whole site, maybe with a lower panel that would allow me to filter which rules I’m going to disable for the current site.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am pretty sure that most users won’t bother picking out the ads that they can accept. An “all or nothing” decision allows the easiest possible user interface&nbsp;&mdash; meaning also the highest possible number of users who will use this feature. It is up to the webmaster to choose all his ad sources in such a way that users accept them.

  14. ecjs · 2009-05-11 20:55 · #

    Isn’t the point of an adblocker to work as a blacklist rather than a whitelist ? The whitelist is only used to solve false-positive problems so far. Hence I disagree with your solution, although it is a well-thought one.

    I believe there should be an official fork to the easylist which would allow the unobtrusive ads. Just as there is an official fork that does not use element hiding filters. The user would keep the final decision, and would choose the subscription he wants.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Whitelisting sites is also how you allow ads on them to support them financially…

    As I said several times above – differentiating between ads on the filter level is a different proposal that isn’t mutually exclusive with this one.

  15. MoJo · 2009-05-11 21:21 · #

    It might be worth looking into scoring sites based on how annoying the ads are likely to be, and only bothering to ask if they score lower than a certain amount. Similar to spam filtering with SpamAssasin.

    For example, the following criteria could affect the score:

    1. Flash ads
    2. Animated GIF ads
    3. Text only ads
    4. Size of ads
    5. Amount of actual content on page *
    6. Use of off-site ads
    7. Use if iframes
    8. Use of known “good” ads, e.g. Google text only
    9. Tracking cookies from ads

    * To match sites where an article has 1 or 2 paragraphs per page.

    Of course, only frequented sites would be asked about anyway. As well as bothering the user less this system would have the advantage of training webmasters not to do things that are annoying.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, the ads are blocked – meaning that nobody can tell what they are ;)

  16. MoJo · 2009-05-11 21:24 · #


    10. Annoying Javascript like opening new windows, changing window size etc.

  17. gcfn · 2009-05-11 21:32 · #

    I think the other commenters are really missing the point… Here are my thoughts on why this is an appropriate, comfortable, and acceptable compromise.

    1. It is simple to implement for webmasters.

    2. It is simple to disable for AdBlock users.

    3. There is no conceivable way to exploit it.

    4. The user still has ultimate control over what ads get shown, when and under what conditions.

    5. It allows users to make site-by-site decisions rather than network by network. You can’t just fork a blacklist as the real problem is how webmasters implement their ads, not the ads themselves. IE: some webmasters make you scroll below the fold to get to the real content, while others place the ads unobtrusively at the very bottom.

    I think this is a fantastic idea and would be a welcome part of my AdBlockPlus installation.

  18. Ken Saunders · 2009-05-11 21:48 · #

    Unrelated to the previous post and new and massive exposure for Adblock Plus, I’ve started using it again primarily for the EasyPrivacy subscription but also for blocking ads. While I’ve commented here on your blog about me wanting to see certain ads particularly related to browsers, I’ve reached a threshold for the amount of crap that I wanted thrown in my face.
    So now that I’m an Adblock Plus user again, I feel a little more comfortable commenting here.

    As an advocate for an Internet user’s right to choose how they view and interact with the Internet, I’m on board with your position to equip Internet users with the tools that they need to control the content that they see online.

    Yours isn’t the only type of content blocking or altering extension, it just happens to be the most popular, effective, and best of its kind and that’s why you get negative feedback and complaints for those that oppose ad blocking and Adblock Plus.
    If everyone disabled style sheets, then imagine the uproar that we’d hear from those in the web design and graphics industry. It would bankrupt thousands of companies and individuals. That’s an extreme example, but you get the point.

    Instead of making massive changes that will affect your users, I suggest that you write a guide to decent Internet marketing and ad creation for those who bitch about their ads being blocked. Now it won’t appease everyone, but if webmasters would stop making annoying, obtrusive, and distracting ads that prevents people from enjoying a web page or site, then perhaps people wouldn’t be so quick to want to disable them and then they just MAY actually click on an ad.
    Poll your Adblock Plus users and ask what it is about ads that bothers them the most that they feel the need to block them. Is it a particular style or presentation like a popup or floating one? Is the format (Flash, animated GIF etc)? Is it the size, colors, other?

    Now when it comes down to it, you DO NOT have to do anything at all. Not even alter your coding, but you are in a unique position to actually help to get things changed on the Internet and you have a massive user base that could contribute to that to. They provide feedback to you already so they could provide productive feedback that would bring about changes to the Internet globally and not just be isolated to here and your Adblock Plus extension where there is a war going on between marketers and Internet users. I believe that there can be a compromise or middle ground.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I wrote this guide years ago: Not much has changed since then, the user feedback I get mostly confirms the points I listed there. But I don’t think too many webmasters will bother without a more direct feedback mechanism from their users.

  19. MoJo · 2009-05-11 21:49 · #

    Regarding the issue of ads being blocked making it difficult to tell what they are, I think most tests could still be applied.

    All flash ads are .swf, off site ads have an off site URL, size of ads is often fixed based on image or iframe size etc.

    It wouldn’t be perfect but even if you just used it to rule out some sites from ever being considered not-annoying (e.g. because they appear to use flash ads) it would help cut down the number of questions the user is asked.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Please have a look at the forum thread I linked to, it also discusses the question of how much useful information you can get from a blocked request. The conclusion seems to be – yes, first-party vs. third-party is a useful separation but content type isn’t too useful for third-party ads (most third-party ads are scripts and unblocking these scripts just to see what they will insert into the document usually isn’t a good idea).

  20. John · 2009-05-11 21:56 · #

    Adblock Plus has become a must have for every sensible internet user. But unfortunately there is nothing nearly as good as Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer. Previously you have mentioned that building an Adblock Plus version for IE is not an option. It seems to me as if you don’t want people to use IE, and you know it very well that many people only use Firefox just because of Adblock Plus. This kind of mindset is unexpected from a developer like you.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This comment is off-topic but I will reply nevertheless: building an equivalent of Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer would require 10 times the effort, and even then it would be a suboptimal alternative. The difference is really that Firefox was built with extensibility in mind, Internet Explorer wasn’t. So there is a good reason why there are so many abandoned “Adblock for IE” projects and why most of the other ad blocking solutions for IE are commercial – such a huge time investment cannot be a hobby any more. Personally, I have my hands full with Adblock Plus already, I cannot support any non-Gecko browsers.

  21. prinn · 2009-05-11 22:17 · #

    Unless this is an interim step and later you intend to make Adblock Plus disable itself when it detects this meta tag, you are proposing a meta tag content value which clearly misrepresents how the tag will be handled by you. The idea of webmasters inserting a meta tag to communicate “my ads aren’t intrusive” is… well… where are my Oolong links. It makes no sense. The term intrusive is both vague and subjective, and coming from the webmaster, means absolutely nothing from a user’s point of view. Asking webmasters to communicate their desire WRT the processing of ads is kind of absurd in that you already know what their desire is… they put ads on their site because they want them to be presented in the ordinary way and without any obstructions.

    Unless you intend to maintain a shadow browsing history (bad), I believe your “frequents this site” detection routine would be foiled by history clearing (which in and of itself communicates nothing WRT ads) and thus would be unreliable. Were the user not to clear their history, your proposal would seem to result in multiple to potentially many user notificatons which would not make for a pleasant browsing experience. Although “webmaster level of objection to ad blocking” might be a function of frequency of visits, “user rationale for blocking the ads” will likely not be related to frequency of visits.

    What the meta tag related functionality seems to boil down to is giving aware webmasters of frequently revisited sites the mere ability to nag users at least once. I feel it certain that such a limited mechanism will have no significant impact on opposition to Adblock Plus or attempts to bypass it. So why bother with the meta tag at all? Again, since you know the desires of webmasters [go beyond the level of control you are providing], you might as well just pretend that such a meta tag preference has been set.

    I would warn you about attempting to massage things so as to achieve some desired level of “fairness” and “greater good” WRT to ad blocking. It is a noble idea, but neither you nor I nor anyone else knows what approach will produce the most fairness and good in the end. Having said that, if you absolutely insist on trying to influence things in a manner similar to your proposal, the best way would be to add additional settings which allow for more fine-grained user control over ad blocking and make one or more of those control the whitelisting of frequently visited sites. PROMPT the user to review settings and to make appropriate adjustments so they know what the software will and won’t be doing.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    As mentioned above, I am open for better suggestions regarding the tag. So far I didn’t find anything that would better represent its meaning.

    I think the default for history is 90 days in Firefox 3. Even the Firefox 2 default of 9 days would work. If the user is privacy-obsessed and cleans the history more frequently – well, I don’t think this kind of user would be interested in allowing ads anyway (they are privacy-relevant as well after all). What I know for sure is that users who clear their history are a very tiny minority.

    As I wrote in the blog post, the number of notifications would be throttled for a site – so that the notification wouldn’t show up more than once a day even if the user ignores it or clicks “Ask me later” (“a day” is random here, it can be made “four days” or “a week” just as well).

    The point of this was giving webmasters who do make an effort to not annoy users with their ads (yes, there are some already and there hopefully will be more) a chance to communicate this to Adblock Plus users. Messages like this one did produce very positively feedback before (see for example!.aspx) – but that’s limited exposure and not each website can communicate to their users like that.

    Whitelisting all frequently visited sites would a pointless feature IMO – that would mean that Adblock Plus would sit idle most of the time. If the user wants this, why did he install Adblock Plus in the first place?

  22. Tom Tobin · 2009-05-11 22:26 · #

    How many sites do you visit frequently? My guess would be – no more than twenty. How often do you expect to see this question then? Even assuming that every single site on the Internet added this tag, I don’t think anybody will see that question more than once a week. Which is why I hope the userbase will understand this move.

    With the popularity of aggregation sites like Reddit and Digg, and the typical cross-linking to interesting content in the innumerable blogs online, do you really believe that the average user only visits the same websites every day? And would only see this question pop up “once a week”? Once that meta tag became standard practice (which it would), the real figure for the question would likely be closer to dozens of times per day. If Adblock Plus stops doing its (up to now, wonderful) job quietly and without fuss, I won’t be able to keep recommending it to non-technical users … and it wouldn’t be long before the project was forked. (Adblock Plus Plus?) :p

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I think you misread my proposal. This notification would only show up on sites the users visit frequently (I doubt a website the user saw for the first time in his life can expect a positive answer). As to the Digg/Reddit crowd – I think most webmasters already wrote those off, there is really no money in that kind of exposure.

  23. markus · 2009-05-11 22:51 · #

    The biggest problem I have are HUGE popups which fade-in slowly.

    A game site uses it, and they fail to see that I stop playing that game because of those annoying popups

    BTW Firefox makes a huge mistake – the adblock functionality should be in-built.

    They probably dont do it because of the money, but really they should – i dont mind google ads and similar, but i TOTALLY hate huge popups, or animated gifs. It JUST DRIVES ME CRAZY.

  24. Jamie · 2009-05-11 23:02 · #

    This would be great if it wasn’t for the fact that sites with annoying advertising are going to add the tag, just so people will preview and make them $0.001.

    If anything ABP should open a page when it loads for the first time that details how to use the ABP menu. Something short and sweet that lets users know how to access options if they need them, and then never bother them again.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Nobody will read that page – and quite certainly nobody will act without being reminded (where “nobody” means “less than 1% of the users”).

  25. duuude no · 2009-05-11 23:06 · #

    Ads should be blocked with impunity! NO VIEWZ FOR YOU!

  26. peter · 2009-05-11 23:14 · #

    I don’t see a reason for requiring sites to opt in.

    Regarding the reply to #5:

    I think the given reason for opt in is pretty weak.

    What if the webmaster changes the ads over time to improve user experience?

    How could a webmaster improve user experience for every individual user?.. in advance?

    It’s pretty vague to assume every individual user has the same tolerance level. User A might not like banners while user B doesn’t mind.

    Finally, what if anyone would introduce new meta tags? This solution is not acceptable.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The reason for opt-in is to push some responsibility towards the webmaster. It is his choice when to insert that tag and he should do it at a point when he thinks many users will accept the question (even though you can never get 100%). If he is still improving the user experience, it is a trade-off: “do I insert the tag now (and then only 40% accept the request) or do I improve the advertising some more and insert the tag later (so that 60% accept the request)?” If it is the former, you have to consider that the 20% more who rejected the request won’t see it again for a long time (probably a year on average). This isn’t exact science of course but it is better than asking on all frequently used sites IMO – on many of these sites a request like this will sound like a joke due to the aggressive ads.

  27. DevN · 2009-05-11 23:56 · #

    If the product is about blocking ads, then stick to that. If it’s being transformed into blocking ads based on what content providers think, then create a separate product that requires user choices, clicks, and frequent interventions. I’d say leave ad blocking to AdBlock as users come to expect or else there is likely to be other products which will fill the void. Who knows the other products might even been better.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    So you think seeing that question once a week isn’t something you would agree to?

  28. Arne · 2009-05-12 00:18 · #

    Interesting thinking, Wladimir
    I haven’t read the other comments, but one thought:

    Shouldn’t the meta tag have content=”ask“ or something like that, rather than disable?

    Some webmasters add meta tags without knowing exactly what they do, and I imagine many would think that “meta adblock disable” will disable Adblock, no questions asked …

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Ok, let’s change that to “ask” unless somebody comes up with a better name.

  29. Gordon · 2009-05-12 00:20 · #

    The only problem with the meta tag is that it will inevitably be abused. It would only be a matter of time before everyone who knows anything is always including that tag, regardless of how obtrusive their ads are. They’ll still want them displayed either way so they’ll have no qualms about throwing that tag in there.

  30. Brian · 2009-05-12 00:27 · #

    The problem with advertising on web sites, is that some advertisers have no problem with introducing spyware and malware on their site to maximize their revenue.
    Categorizing advertisements might be better. We know that google ads never introduce harmful content, google ads can therefore be trusted. Any company that does a pop up ad, would be on the untrusted list, and any company that allows web masters to create a pop up ad should also go untrusted. A new subscription service for trusted advertisers should added and maintained. If someone violates the acceptable advertising policy, the end user can number 1 filter it, and number 2, report the ad from a context menu.

    Metatags can be abused. Policing is the only way.

    Acceptable advertising policies could be debated, but would include obvious things like attempting to deceive the user, stealing information out of cookies, popups, pop ups that appear when you leave the page, and just simple cluttering of the web page in general. If you have one to five ads on a page, you are probably ok. But when you put the same advertisement 5 times on a page, surrounding a picture, you might be taking things a little bit far. An add every 100 lines or so of a news article seems more than reasonable.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    No ads can be “trusted”. Google had quite a bit of trouble keeping malware out of their ads and I don’t think they solved the problem forever&nbsp;&mdash; the “bad guys” will keep trying. I heard stories from one large site that handpicks most of their ads where ads were submitted and showed something different depending on whether your IP address was associated with that site – luckily they noticed it. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t one that can be easily solved.

  31. ecjs · 2009-05-12 00:32 · #

    I agree with #26.

    Wladimir, please let the time go by before using your precious time working on this feature. The NoScript incident is too close in time, please don’t overreact.

  32. Craig · 2009-05-12 00:50 · #

    Good ideas here, and I think it would be worth trying some.

    If the goal is to avoid intrusive ads, have you thought about the ad-displaying process be a negotiation between the site and adblock?

    For instance, if a user dislikes flash or javascript advertisements, then they could configure adblock so that it will display only alternative static image/text ads as provided by the web site.

    Another example would be a user saying they would only like 1 flash ad, and 1 javascript tracking script that originates from a decent site, such as google analytics. The webmaster can choose which ads these are, and ad block will display these to the user.

    I think this would encourage webmasters to create more non-intrusive ads that are within the parameters that users feel is acceptable.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, I thought about approaches like this – but unfortunately they tend to get very complex and plainly unrealistic when it comes to the actual implementation.

  33. Brian · 2009-05-12 00:56 · #

    I think this feature should be opt-in for plugin users rather than opt-out. A visible disable option doesn’t go far enough. Prompt the user whether they want to enable this feature at the time the plugin is installed. Make your case for why it’s good to see ads sometimes (it keeps your favorite sites from going bankrupt, etc. etc.) and let people decide up front whether they agree.

    The fact that you think people will automatically say “no” (and I think that most probably will) does not make this idea sound very appealing. If that’s the case, why is this feature being introduced? It takes a rather dim view of your users and their intelligence (or morals). Either this is a good idea or it isn’t. If this is a good idea, you shouldn’t have to trick people into using it or rely on user apathy not to turn it off. People should jump at the chance to use it.

    ABP does what it should: blocks ads. That’s why people use it. Any step toward NOT blocking ads is a reduction in functionality and shouldn’t be the default. Even prompting not to block ads is a step in the wrong direction. People use ABP because their browser was annoying the heck out of them while they were trying to read websites. People are so bombarded with prompts left and right nowadays (in Windows anyways) that even a couple more is too many in my opinion.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Nobody takes their time to read anything when Adblock Plus is installed (again, “nobody” means “less than 1% of the users”). If it weren’t so, we wouldn’t have so many people asking in forums who have no idea what a filter subscription is and that they installed one. And explaining a complicated idea after installation is just not going to work.

  34. Fabien · 2009-05-12 01:27 · #

    Another (unrelated) idea: instead of removing the ads, move them to the bottom of the page (and of course block any sound/animation).
    That way, ads become unobstrusive, but are still displayed, and the user has a chance to see them.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, there are technical issues with that suggestion. First of all, you have to know what an ads is – most ads being blocked are scripts, if you allow them they might insert anything into the document and you will never know what it was (I am thinking especially about layer ads here). Not to mention that this approach defeats some advantages of ad blocking, like faster page load times or less bandwidth use.

  35. Wolfgang · 2009-05-12 01:37 · #

    What is important for me: if an ad is stored on the same server as the website (and not too annoying) I mostly agree with showing it.

    But I can’t stand loading ads from another server – since this can also be used for tracking (and most advertising companies do it – of course). I don’t want to be tracked and installed an extra filter list in ABP which blocks well-known tracking URLs.

    Also you should enable the user to choose which types of ads (s)he wants to block: if it is normal (X)HTML code – all right. But I don’t want to show Flash (or Java) ads – because these plugins waste my precious ressources for ads.

    So there should be 2 options in the meta tag:

    - is the ad hosted on the same host as the ad? – is it only (X)HTML based or does it require plugins?

    The user should then choose himself/herself how far (s)he wants to enable ads.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Allowing all first-party ads is easy already, just add “@@*$~third-party” to your filter list. We were discussing offering this to users as an option (unrelated to the proposal here), it might happen at some point as well.

  36. Mike Lieman · 2009-05-12 01:41 · #

    I concur with the sentiment that you shouldn’t rush to even mock-up this functionality.

    I use ABP, and it works JUST FINE.

    If I did see a “Hey, these guys think you might want to unblock them”, there better be a “Never ask me to unblock anyone every again” option ( Ignore META Tag ) in addition to Yes, No, Later.

  37. Brenton · 2009-05-12 01:54 · #

    I think you can solve this problem without so much work. For example, a new filter set could be created which had strict guidelines about which ads are blocked, only blocking the annoying ones but allowing through the reasonable ones. It could even be done with submissions from the users. For example, a system like WOT where users right click on an ad if they find it annoying or offensive, and mark it as such. That info is then sent into the main database that generates the filter set, and that at on that domain, or even all ads on the entire domain are blocked.

    As for your idea, I think it’s a good idea, but I like mine better. But any how, with your idea if a user allows ads on a website by clicking on the little popup, then they should still have the option to block ads on that site again, by right clicking and getting a menu that says “this ad is really annoying!” then it would block it again, and send a little info to ABP informing ABP that the meta tag for that website lied. then ABP will blacklist it, no longer automatically giving users the option to whitelist that site anymore. if they wanted to whitelist it they’d have to do it manually in the ABP menus.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    See replies to comments above – categorizing filters in the filter list is a different idea that is under discussion (and not mutually exclusive with this one). It will certainly mean a lot more work however.

    I don’t want to be the central instance deciding what is and what isn’t annoying – it is user’s own decision. However, adding a menu item to context menu “Do not disable Adblock Plus here any more” sounds like a good option to revert the previous decision to me.

  38. James Cox · 2009-05-12 01:55 · #

    How about another meta tag linking you to a page with subscription options?

    If users don’t want ads, send them to a page where they can optionally pay for the content… this feels like a good opportunity for that upsell. Will make advertisers with co-pay subscription content happy too.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I was thinking about solutions like this one. The issue I see: this link will only be followed by Adblock Plus users – thus allowing webmasters to recognize them. Features like this one always create a strong temptation to abuse them. In an extreme case, a webmaster might even link to a malicious page. I think I’ve seen a webmaster expressing before that he doesn’t mind serving trojans to Adblock Plus users.

  39. raquo · 2009-05-12 02:01 · #

    If this feature becomes popular among webmasters (it should, as many use only Adsense which is usually far from intrusive), it will become annoying for the user.

    I see a possible solution in tracking users’ decisions to show or disable supposedly unintrusive ads. This way ABP will be able to see which websites likely abuse this feature and which websites are likely fair in claiming non-intrusiveness. So, in ‘obvious’ cases ABP could make an automatic decision to show or hide the ads.

    P.S. I hope the above is readable.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    As I said above, I am opposed to a central instance deciding what is and what isn’t annoying – it is user’s (subjective) decision. Also, I don’t think that this question will come up often even if every site in the world uses this tag. After all, everybody has a very limited set of sites he visits frequently, I expect it to come up once a week in the worst possible case. This condition can even be hardcoded – if the users has seen this question for a site (any site) within the last week already then never ask.

  40. Ken Saunders · 2009-05-12 02:13 · #

    Fabien – “instead of removing the ads, move them to the bottom of the page (and of course block any sound/animation)”

    There are many extensions that block auto-playing of sound and animation (Flash, GIF etc) but you don’t hear webmasters bitching about those.
    Like I said, it’s because of Adblock Plus’s effectiveness, popularity, and huge user base that it gets such negative attention from webmasters.

    @ John (comment #20)
    Why would you point some sort of accusatory finger at Wladimir like he is not being a good Samaritan by him not developing software (of any kind) for IE?

    I know nothing about Wladimir except for the facts that he’s a Firefox user and a significant contributor to the Mozilla project overall so that means that he must be an open source advocate.

    Like I said, I don’t know him, if a company was to approach him and offer buckets of cash to develop an ad blocking extension for IE, I don’t know if he’d jump on that or not (chances are he’s already received numerous offers), but for now, his attention and apparent loyalty is to Mozilla, open source, and Firefox end users, not on developing software to work on a proprietary product who’s parent company uses unfair and monopolistic business practices and that could care less about their consumers.

    Adblock Plus does attract new Firefox users, no doubt and thank goodness. Mozilla doesn’t have unlimited funds for a marketing war chest to promote adoption of its products as IE does and so to be quite immature, tough shit that there isn’t a decent ad blocking extension for IE.

    This comes from an ex-IE user of 7+ years.

    Webmasters need to get over blaming Wladimir and Adblock Plus for their problems. They need to blame themselves. They are the ones that created the need for Adblock Plus. There are many ways to get people to click on things and buy stuff. Using loud, hideous, and obtrusive methods is not one of them.

  41. donald moore (mindrape) · 2009-05-12 02:14 · #

    uhm, this has to be the most retarded feature ever. i hate ads, and will block them anyway possible; with or without ABP help. anyone in support of this is clearly delusional or has some other agenda.

    sniff, sniff, but the poor webmasters…**** em, fix your broken business model.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Ok, one more user who will disable this feature. Thanks for your opinion.

  42. Torbi26 · 2009-05-12 02:22 · #

    So that “What would it look like?” button asks the user for the site he is “viewing right now without blocking anything”.

    Let me tell you, it would be very easy find out with some php-generated javascript to detect: – first the adblock-block, then – the eventually following adblock-what-would-it-look-like (and show “nice” ads) – and at later visits show completely different ads…

    I am sure some people would even develop wordpress and similar plugins to get around that.

    I like the meta-tag idea, but I see too easy way to fool the users which make use of that feature.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am not very convinced about that – you have to serve page content before ads start getting loaded. Either way, this kind of abuse is certainly in the range of possible which is one of the reasons why the user should be able to revert his decision easily.

  43. Anonymous · 2009-05-12 02:23 · #

    What #36 said. Adblock Plus blocks ads very well right now, thank you. If I wanted to see annoying pop-ups in my browser, I’d simply uninstall ABP. If a newer version of ABP starts showing me annoying pop-ups —- FOR WHATEVER REASON —- I’ll simply uninstall it and re-install the [old or forked] version.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    ABP will not show you “pop-ups”. It is a notification which will come up once a week at most and you can disable it.

  44. sky · 2009-05-12 02:23 · #

    I’m not quite sure what the source would be, but I would love ABP to report/record how much revenue I’ve “stolen” from each site (based on hidden ads) assuming average market rates for the time.

    That way I could see:
    1. How much money my monthly browsing represents
    2. How much money I might contribute to a certain site.

    My guess is that this number would be lower than what most people are willing to pay (e.g. as an addendum to their) and subscription/pay models or tip-jars will be more popular.

    So for the tag, perhaps it could link to the source of ad-pricing/revenue for their source, along with a tip-jar link?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I have no idea how you would translate blocked requests into “money” – especially given that most of the time simply viewing ads is not enough, you have to click them as well.

  45. sying · 2009-05-12 02:23 · #

    Not a good idea!!!!
    Not trying to flame, just, too many people who like the idea.

    To me this is a user interface issue. The best user interface for an adblocker one that you never ever have to deal with and adblock plus has done that very well in the past. Changing it is a bad idea.

    You can always find a way to block advertisements – there are many adblockers out there. Adblock plus just does it best – it lowers the amount of effort required the most.

    To me, adding effort to the user defeats the point. While I do admit that webmasters need their revenue, I dislike the idea of making the user exert effort.

    I’m much more in favor of allowing an ad to go through once before it gets blocked, or having a cap of advertisements shown per website or ip. To me there’s nothing worse than seeing the same ad 5 or 6 times (when using chrome).

    BTW, chrome makes me really appreciate all that Adblock plus has done. Thanks.

  46. DC · 2009-05-12 02:28 · #

    One thing that this doesn’t consider is this:

    I don’t mind seeing ads from some advertising services (e.g. google’s adsense) but I do mind seeing ads from some other advertising services (e.g. companies that like flash). I would be much more willing to whitelist a service than to whitelist a webpage – and with more far-reaching effects. Heck, what if a webpage uses some ads that I’m okay with and some that I’m not? If I have some desire to support them, I might be interested in whitelisting some of the ads and not others.

    For reverting, I think that having a semi-transparent “block this” like I have with my flash blocker after I decide to allow some flash item would be a good place to revert the decision.

    Anyway, just brainstorming here. I enjoy the peacefulness that adblock provides very much.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Whitelisting AdSense is an option already (one that I use personally). However, I see that every advertising service can be misused – e.g. some sites manage to be annoying with Google’s text ads only.

    Where would this “block this” button be shown?

  47. fcp · 2009-05-12 02:29 · #

    I approve. I already whitelist some of the sites I frequent, others I try but have to turn back off because they’re so bad though.

  48. Bertrand · 2009-05-12 02:29 · #

    Now this is a good idea. I do have a website and I’m struggling to fund its dedicated server.

    I was thinking of closing my website, but maybe this option will allow me to offset the cost of the dedicated server with the ads. I used to be able to do it but with the increasing number of users who block ads I can’t do it anymore.

    It is important that people realize that ads may be a relevant resource, and that they are FUNDAMENTAL for the economy of most small websites. No ads = no websites. Live with it :/

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I wouldn’t count to much on this option in Adblock Plus – as I mentioned in the blog post, there aren’t too many Adblock Plus users so far. That’s different on some sites however, e.g. I know one large site that has 20% of their users definitely using Adblock Plus, because of the more technically savvy audience.

  49. John Stag · 2009-05-12 02:39 · #

    I’m pretty sure Google serves me ads even with adblock installed. Difference is they’re discreet text ads that nobody seems to mind. I can think of a few other sites like this as well.

    Google grokked it, others have, why can’t these poor disadvantaged webmasters? Why does an advert have to be an image?

    Rant over, back to topic at hand:

    1) You say that only a tiny minority of web users have adblock installed (5% of Firefox users) and only a small percent of those will ever respond to an advert (by definition they’re anti-advertising) so any revenue loss is currently just background noise. I can’t believe you’d risk alienating all your users over this.

    2) Given that it’s such a tiny percentage of users, this system will only work if huge flashing messages arrive in the webmaster’s inbox every time a user votes to block the site, ie. “Your ads are annoying your users and they’re voting to block them!!”. You said that a website can’t detect Adblock so how will this message be delivered?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I know that Adblock Plus already reached critical mass on some sites, especially those with more technically savvy audience. Also, Adblock Plus adoption is constantly growing – I don’t want to wait until we kill the Internet and start developing solutions then.

    The second question is a good one. Getting some anonymized/aggregated feedback from this feature would be useful both for me and for the webmasters of the sites in question. One option I see is having Adblock Plus request an address from every time a decision is made. I can configure the server in such a way that these requests are not logged and only the number of positive/negative decisions for a site is stored. At the end of the day the server would relay these numbers to the sites in question. Technically that’s not a problem, but I would be asking for some trust here. At the very least, a formulated privacy policy would be required.

  50. Daniel Einspanjer · 2009-05-12 02:40 · #

    I would suggest that the meta tag be named something more generally useful such as “ad-content-description” and that the “spec” have more information to make it possible for ABP and any other ad blocking tools to extend upon. I also think the tags should start out simple and provide optional attributes or additional tags to allow the website creator to easily try it out and build upon it if they determine it is successful.

    Some ideas I had regarding possibly useful attributes:

    1. delivery type tags: js-insertion; iframe; image; banner; <that name for long side ads I can’t remember>; text; contextual-text; animated; non-animated These can be used in a multi-value attribute and would allow better information to be supplied to the user to make a decision if the mechanism catches on. Some ad blocking users might be more comfortable with allowing non-animated images or plain text ads.
    2. content category tags: merchandising; software; hardware; website; technology; … If I am interested in supporting a site that I appreciate, that interest needs to be weighed against the potential usefulness of my enabling the ads. If they are CPC ads and they are for something I’m likely to never click, why bother? It isn’t helping the site and it is hurting my user experience. Incidentally, I think this is actually one of the major arguments for ad-blocking in the first place. :)
    3. cpm rate – I’m not actually sure if any website would be comfortable giving this information, but I know that it could help me make my decision. It could also be used in combination with the user’s web history to tell the user (and only the user!) exactly how much revenue the website has potentially lost due to the user blocking their ads. This leads me to my last one…
    4. donation email address/url – If I really like a site, I’ll donate to them. If they have a page for donations, I’ll use that, otherwise, I might use something like Something in ABP as you described that mentioned to me that I visit the site a lot and that I’m blocking ads would make it even more likely that I might toss $0.05 up to $5.00 to the owner, which is likely more than they would ever have received from my having viewed those ads instead of blocking them anyway.

    All of these described attributes provide the website maintainer with tools they could use to let me make a more informed decision about them. I feel that people block ads because they feel that the ads detract from the user’s experience and that the ads are likely irrelevant to the user anyway. These tools might provide a way to turn that problem around.

    Lastly, one other thing I came up with while thinking about this problem is a potential way an ad blocking mechanism such as ABP could potentially give useful data back to the website maintainer as well.
    What if the user was provided an opt-in mechanism in ABP that would allow the user to anonymously feedback their choices for enabling or continuing to reject a particular frequently visited website’s ads? Not to the website in question, which would involve a loss of anonymity and open up the possibility of direct profiling, but maybe to ABP or some related site that is actually interested in preserving the user’s right to decide how they handle ads? The information made available in aggregate to either the sites in question or to advertisers in general would suddenly provide a way to measure the types of ads that people are more amicable to viewing. I don’t feel that a web feedback comment of “your ads suck, I’m never visiting your site again” will ever help, even if the site gets tens or hundreds of them, but if sites could see measurements like, “3% of people blocking ads to sites they frequently visit will enable those ads if they are relevant and unobnoxious” is a conversion rate that might turn some heads.
    I’d really love to find a way to allow the user to provide their preferences regarding these ad content categories, but I can’t think of a way that could be given even to a trustworthy third party without opening the door to undesired profiling. :/

    Anyway.. those are my thoughts. Maybe they will strike someone as interesting.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    One problem with providing more information is: there is no way to verify that the provided information is correct. Also, explaining the meaning of all this to average users will be pretty challenging. And even then – I have strong doubts that they even care about such nuances. The message should really be as simple as possible.

    Yes, I am thinking about feedback mechanisms as well – see my reply to comment 49 above.

  51. C. Conrad Cady · 2009-05-12 02:40 · #

    Don’t people realize that the only way you can force ads on people is through crap that is so tied to the content that it cannot be removed? Think product placement. And if that product placement [EAT AT MCDONALDS!] is too intrusive, I’m going to another site where I can get what I want without the intrusion.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am sorry but I don’t really understand what this has to do with my proposal. Who is forcing you to view ads?

  52. Anonymous · 2009-05-12 02:42 · #

    If your conscience demands you take a step like this, I’ll respect your decision. I hope you’ll then respect mine for continuing to use the current, pre-crippled version of your fine add-on.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I’ll even respect your decision to disable this feature in any future version of my add-on.

  53. Paul · 2009-05-12 02:42 · #

    I don’t see any point to this. While a few webmasters might use the tag “nicely” for non-annoying ads, the vast majority wouldn’t care and would un-block everything.

    When I watch TV, I get up and go get a drink during the commercial. Or I mute the TV and don’t pay attention. The advertiser has neither the right nor the ability to force me to watch their ads just because I watch the TV show, even though the business model of almost all TV shows depends directly on showing ads. No ads = no TV. Yet the world continues, even though many people totally ignore most of the ads.

    My computer is similar. Can I be forced to turn my speakers on to hear an audio ad? Of course not. And, on the computer that I own, I can install any software I want to filter anything I want from the Internet traffic reaching my machine. They have the right to put any ads they want on their site, and I have the right to put any filtering software I want on my own computer.

    If you do this, all that will happen is someone else will make an “Adblock Super Plus” that ignores the tag, and 90% of your users will go use that instead of Adblock Plus.

    People install Adblock Plus and subscribe to those filters because…. they don’t want to see any ads at all! Your tool meets that want. If it stops meeting it, some other tool will be created that does.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    As I said very early on in my blog post – I am not giving this decision to webmasters, exactly for the reason you mentioned. The decision will always stay with the user. The point of this tag is to ask the user to reconsider his ad blocking on this site, and even that question will reach the user very rarely (reading through the feedback above, I think I will make sure that this question never pops up more than once per week).

  54. irb · 2009-05-12 02:44 · #

    I think this is a terrible idea; I’m choosing to ignore ads despite the publisher’s wishes (or, more importantly, in accordance with my own) by installing the extension in the first place. If I have to keep reiterating that decision I’m either going to look for another extension or just go back to /etc/hosts. I’m also happy with the no ads = no website equation as there’s very little out there that I’d consider fundamentally irreplaceable.

    If the adblock plus authors are looking for ways to defeat adblock plus, then I am seriously tempted to support a fork of the code.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    1) You will not have to make a decision more than once a week (and even that’s a worst-case scenario that won’t happen for anybody for the next few years).
    2) This feature will be easy to disable if you absolutely don’t want to allow ads on any sites.

  55. P.S. · 2009-05-12 02:46 · #

    I’ve been a big fan of Adblock plus for a long time and appreciate they work you’ve put into it as well as the time people take to keep blocklist subscriptions up-to-date.

    I had an idea about this for some time. The way I see it there are two kinds of adblock users, there are the kinds who don’t want to see ads because they just don’t like obtrusive ads (myself) and then there are those who also add that they are saving bandwidth by not loading advertisements. It seems to me, and I could easily be wrong, that websites dislike adblock not because it’s blocking ads from being viewed (what is the typical click through rate? very small, right?) but because it’s blocking impressions/hits or whatever the proper term is before they can ever happen. If I am correct in that problem is with the impression system then could you not make a user selectable option to Adblock’s behavior that causes it not to block the loading of ads but simply to block their display? Wouldn’t this be a fair compromise between the user’s wishes and the site’s need to make money? The advertisers or ad companies get the shaft in this scenario, however…

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    See for an explanation about why this won’t work.

  56. Todd Knarr · 2009-05-12 02:47 · #

    I think the only problem is that, as soon as you add this meta tag, the websites with the most annoying ads will be the first ones to put it on their pages.

    Myself, I don’t have any problem with a dialog like this as long as there’s a preference setting to say “Don’t bother with the dialog, if I want an exception added I’ll use the right-click menu on the icon.”.

  57. Offbeatmammal · 2009-05-12 02:48 · #

    I think this would be a great move, especially if there is a mechanism to let the webmaster know how many users are making what decision – if a lot of people are taking the previous and then still turning off ads it would help to filter ads which are still annoying for instance

    I’d also be interested in a solution that allowed me as a user to resolve the ethical problem of making sure the content provider gets paid while at the same time being able to “opt out” of ads – perhaps something like this:

  58. Aaron Traas · 2009-05-12 03:07 · #

    I haven’t looked into the Adblock code or any Firefox extensions in general, so please pardon any ignorance I have with this question:

    Couldn’t you have an alternate mode that tries to block only annoying ads? Or have it tunable? The most annoying adds are Flash or Java Applets, followed by DHTML popups, followed by animated GIF’s, followed by obscene images the border on NSFW. What if adblock, in a less-strict mode, were able to let through ads that were pretty close plain text, like Google ads?

    I do realize that this would make the software much more complicated than it likely is now. It could be helpful; I really hate the annoying types of ads, and really don’t mind Google AdWords and similar.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    As mentioned in the forum thread I link to from the blog post – Adblock Plus makes its decision before the ad is loaded and there is only so much you know about this ad at that point. Most often you don’t know whether it will be Flash or a text ad – usually it is all scripts at that point and the script (if allowed) will insert the actual ad.

  59. Max · 2009-05-12 03:13 · #

    At the company I work, a great deal of our income comes from ads.

    I hate ads (a quote Francis from L4D could have said). I use adblock blindly on the net. I’ve to disable it on my our site from time to time simply to verify things.

    So, my position is also the one who would has to put this meta tag into the site.

    However, I’m not the one booking the ads into our pages. This is done by people which have not connection to the web and the ads as I’ve.

    I simply cannot put this tag into the page because I’m not the one making the decision and I cannot verify the ads before they’re put online. How should I do this anyway? We’ve about 30 or 40 different ads booked over our whole site any given time. Am I supposed to enable the meta tag on specific pages only where there are ads which are known not to be obtrusive?

    This suggestion may sound fine for people, but I think it does only on paper/blog. 5% of FF users are using adblock? How many sites have interest in this 5%?

    I know from the company which runs the infrastructure our ads are served from, that they simply don’t care about FF. And that although FF has ~30% on our site (we’re health care, not IT; amazes me all the time).

    What’s the motivation for people using adblock? I’m not interested in ads. I don’t even get aware of ads outside of computers, I’ve already developed some kind of blindness to them. Still, on the web due their flashy and animated behavior they attract the eye. Moving things are an horror to me, when I want to read text. I no way I am interested to see them, or, try to see how ads look on this page. You can’t assure that all ads you ever book are according to some white hat rule for your users.

    If adblock adds this, enabled by default, I’m sure they would be a fork or spin off project without this behavior.

    Conclusion: IMHO this is counterproductive in anyway to the very goals of this product (at least that’s how I see it) and probably wasted cycles.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    1) The percentage of Adblock Plus users on a particular site is often significantly larger than the average. These are the sites that would be interested in my proposal first. As the number of Adblock Plus installation increases (and it does increase) more would join them.

    2) This tag would be a per-site thing, asking users to make a decision for each individual page just won’t work. In your case it would require establishing a process first to make sure that the department choosing the ads also does the required quality control. I am pretty sure that it won’t be worth it at the current stage – fine with me, there is no hurry. I hope that in five years things will be different.

  60. Andrew Ziem · 2009-05-12 03:15 · #

    Thank you, Wladimir. I use non-annoying, inline, SFW ads, and I appreciate the ad revenue as encouragement to continue write high-quality, original content.

  61. Ken W · 2009-05-12 03:16 · #

    As a web publisher who does care about user experience and is very much opposed to ad products that disrupt the experience (interstitials, pop-ups, auto-play ads, expanding ads, etc. etc.), the shotgun approach taken (as you say) by most ABP users is frustrating. Should my approach to losing revenue to the small percentage of users who have ABP on be to embrace intrusive ads served to the remaining users in order to recover that lost revenue? That’s a destructive arms race that I hope doesn’t happen (it won’t with me).

    So I appreciate your concern about the effect of ABP on those of us who don’t see a visit to a site as a chance to throw every form of advertiser at a user to maximize that one visit. But I also agree that the solution should come in the form of experience control by the site owner. If you had ABP detect that meta and let the site decide how to handle it, that seems like a more appropriate relationship. Maybe a site owner would want to throw up the plea to turn off ABP, or maybe the site owner would want to stop loading the page if ABP is enabled. It should be the choice of the business owner.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I don’t think that locking users out of sites is a good solution for anything – as I already mentioned in my blog post.

  62. noooooo · 2009-05-12 03:21 · #

    NOOO !!!!
    Adblock Plus is for blocking ads — period. NO STUPID PROMPTS.
    Add this “feature” as a switch on, disabled by default and its fine. the main reason i install adblock is users have no prompts to be confused by.
    too many prompts on todays machines due to stupid and useless “features” already,

  63. Joanne Mullen · 2009-05-12 03:23 · #

    I use Ad Block Plus because I don’t want to see adverts, any adverts at any time. I will never click on them, I will always be annoyed by them. The tiny minority of a tiny minority (ad block users of firefox users) don’t want to see them either. If ad block plus starts allowing ads or constantly nagging me then it will be forked – because it’s defeating its whole purpose – and I’ll use the fork.

    I know you’re trying to offer the ad industry a compromise, I appreciate that it might encourage some web sites to use less intrusive adverts but I really disliked the mentality that you initially exhibited – saying that the option to opt out of the accept ads banner should be hidden. That’s as sneaky as some of the tricks the ad men get up to.

    Really, it’s pretty annoying. People who use adblock hate ads, we’re not the target audience for advertisers. They target the vast majority who either don’t mind adverts, or at least don’t mind enough to search for ad block and block them. All this does is create another level of annoyance for your users, another pointless button to find and press. You’ve seriously pissed off your user base here, although again I appreciate the even handedness of your initial motivation.

    Once again. I don’t want to see adverts. That’s it. If you must introduce this change then give established users and clear and simple way of opting out of it, otherwise adblock plus is on the verge of becoming what it’s suppose to save us from. If it’s enabled without a clear opt out then as soon as Ad Block is forked, and it will be, then I’m off.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    One question per week (and that’s a worst-case that even heavy Internet users don’t need to be afraid of for at least the next few years) is hardly “constantly nagging”…

    Yes, I know that some people just don’t want to see ads. That’s why there will be an option to disable the feature (though I don’t think it will be really necessary for quite a while).

  64. bl · 2009-05-12 03:27 · #

    The issue you come to by enabling this meta tag option is that the site developer has indicated to you that they do not want your software to function with their site. You then risk being sued for allowing it to by optional. I would check with a lawyer before proceeding any further on this issue. I can almost bet they will say it’s a legal minefield.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I already changed the tag – now it says “ask” rather than “disable”. I think it no longer leaves room for such interpretation (and meta tags are generally recommendations as per HTML specification).

  65. Daniel · 2009-05-12 03:27 · #

    All I want is a ‘Disable ads on this site’ button. Perhaps you could allow people to opt in to share this data so a list of frequently blocked sites could be created.

  66. DevN · 2009-05-12 03:32 · #

    Ken W · 2009-05-12 01:16 at #61 wrote:

    “It should be the choice of the business owner.”

    Then you pay for the development of a program that does what you want. Not leech off freely developed programs. If your business cannot thrive in such an environment, it probably does not deserve to stay in business.

  67. Torbi26 · 2009-05-12 03:37 · #

    Here is a simple js/php example (posted to the forum) how a webmaster using the suggested metatag can fool users who believe the first “what would it look like” look and allow the site for later use…

    It’s “badly written” code, it should just show the concept.

    Would now recommend to drop the whole metatag-idea.

  68. Andrew · 2009-05-12 03:38 · #

    Perhaps it would be better to show the new option bar even if the document does not contain “<meta name=“adblock” content=“disable” />”

    I am happy to support websites that I frequently visit and occasionally there is an ad for something useful.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    See my reply to comment 26 for example – the point of “opt-in” is to make sure webmasters do their homework first.

  69. json · 2009-05-12 03:38 · #

    In spite of the ability to turn the new “feature” off, I will probably move to the logical fork that is no doubt already in the pipeline. I don’t want an ad blocking system that develops in partnership with the people serving ads. I want an ad blocker that exists solely to block ads.

    Unlike the previous poster, I have no ethical dilemmas concerning the blocking of ads with the exception of sites I whitelist. For years, I tolerated “hit the monkey and win a prize” banners and even worse because we had no protection against them. Local hosts files were used with little success due to the inability for individuals to gather an all-inclusive list.

    Now that I have control over it, they would like to partner with the developer of my ad blocker so they can show their ads to me?

    It would be incredibly easy for a site to refuse a resulting page load if an ad isn’t viewed. If they wish to do that, then in my mind it’s fair game. As long as I can view the content while blocking ads however, I will choose that route. When the people serving the ads had the upper hand, they couldn’t shove enough obnoxious ads in our faces using all the latest technologies(flash, js, iframes). They always had the option of keeping the advertising tasteful and they chose not to take that route.

    I already disable ABP on sites that I frequent and want to support. It’s currently simple enough to view the ads that you wish to. It seems to me that this is just a way to get a foot in the door. It’s bound to allow abuse of the tag.


    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I already disable <span class=“caps”>ABP</span> on sites that I frequent and want to support.

    I’m glad to hear that. Some other people do that as well. This feature is really useless to those and you can happily disable it. But you still belong to a tiny minority unfortunately.

    As to to abuse of this tag – I don’t really see how. The decision stays with the user, this will never change. The webmaster cannot even force the notification to be displayed, Adblock Plus determines when it shows up (and will make sure that it doesn’t show up too often).

  70. Torbi26 · 2009-05-12 03:45 · #

    @ #68: “it would be better to show the new option bar even if the document does not contain” the metatag..

    It’s there, but many won’t see it:

    right-click ABP-icon in toolbar or
    left-click small arrow next to ABP-icon in toolbar and
    -> select “Disable on …”

    Maybe the ABP-icon should change the behaviour, like left-click shows “Disable on…” and move “blocked items” to right-click menu…

  71. asdf · 2009-05-12 03:51 · #

    I think this is a well intentioned idea, though I have a concern about webmasters trying to game the system,configuring the initial page load on their site to be nearly ad-free, where as subsequent visits or page views would be laden with annoying ads, pop-ups, etc.

    this might be another extension in and of itself, but what about an opt-in way to aggregate responses (‘yes, show ads’ and ‘no thanks’) by site? Once you amassed enough data you could provide an interesting metric, eg ’75%, 300 people, said the ads on this site weren’t obnoxious’ or ’96%, 12 people, said the ads on this site were obnoxious’ — a measure of trust, a way to encourage adblockers to unblock truly reasonable web sites.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, I would like to see that data and also to forward it to websites in question – see my reply to comment 49. The actual implementation needs much thought however.

  72. Tox · 2009-05-12 03:52 · #

    This is a terrible idea. Terrible terrible terrible.

    You write software for users, not for advertisers. Why would your users want this?

    Every single web site that uses advertising would include the meta tag… because none of them would admit that their advertising is annoying, intrusive, or detrimental to the web experience — even though at least 99.44% of it is.

    All this would serve to do is add bloat to the ABP code, add unnecessary steps to a user’s experience while browsing (at least until they found the “Never ask, always choose “NO ADS PLEASE”“ configurable) and slightly increase the size of virtually every web page.

    How does this make the users’ experience better?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Why would your users want this?

    I don’t know – probably because they care about the sites they are visiting and would like to support them? Otherwise why are they asking for this in the forums?

    Every single web site that uses advertising would include the meta tag

    What would that give them? If the user clicks “No and don’t ask me again” they’ve just wasted their only chance.

    slightly increase the size of virtually every web page

    I think you misread the proposal. That question isn’t going to come up every time. I might even explicitly limit it to showing up at most once a week.

  73. MD · 2009-05-12 03:54 · #

    My number one complaint with ads is ANY type of animation or movement. I can’t stand any type of movement on the screen when I am trying to read something. Adblock takes care of most of it, but I still have to install Flash Killer to zap sites that have movement when I am not interested in Flash. And even then, more and more sites are now using javascript to animate everything and there is NO way to stop that without turning off all javascript, which plain destroys the functionality of all such sites. There are times I actually have to move the browser off one edge of the screen just to mask that type of stuff.

    Back to ads: of course, I also don’t like being tracked nor sites taking twice as long to load because of ads, either. If all ads were like Google’s- small, fast, an unanimated, I would never need or care about blocking them in the first place. If I had the ability to tell a site NO ANIMATION, then I would be far more inclined to enable ads on sites I frequently visit.

    Now, if I were asked every or most times I visited sites that the site wants to show me ads, do I want to see them…. I would immediately turn off that feature and/or look for a fork.

    I think perhaps the metatag idea would be abused or just automatically added to every site, with no intent to play by any rules.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I think you misread the proposal. That question isn’t going to come up every time. I might even explicitly limit it to showing up at most once a week.

  74. Joe · 2009-05-12 04:01 · #

    What’s wrong with the old Adblock method of “supported websites”? I loved that for sites I wanted to support. I do NOT want to see adds so the supported websites feature would download the add but not display them. Win-Win-Lose (the ad buyers still loses but I care for them just as much as I care for spammers).

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    See – if the advertisers lose the content providers will lose as well.

  75. uhuznaa · 2009-05-12 04:04 · #

    What about including some clear preferences into ADP, like

    — snip —
    Block all ads that match these rules:
    [ ] Uses Flash
    [ ] Uses animated Gifs
    [ ] Uses iFrames
    [ ] Uses JavaScript
    [ ] Is larger then [ ] by [ ] pixels
    [ ] Is larger then [ ] kB

    [ ] Display at most [ ] ads per page

    — snip —

    Now, this way the user could decide what he wants to see and what not and those designing ads could decide to what amount they would like to tax the users patience.

    I mean, I see the need of ads, but I want to set the conditions. I have no problem with a handful of well-behaving ads on a page. So let me decide what I see as “well-behaving” and let the other side adapt.

    Besides, I really don’t see a need to act right now. There’s less than 1% of all internet users using adblockers and this is nothing than noise statistically. But still there is a need to define some rules for what a tolerable ad is and what not. If you’re wise you can help to work that out and you can’t do that without letting the users chose which kind of ads to block and which kind of ads to let through. So have some way to let the users configure what they like and what they hate, so the other side can look at that and design their ads to be nice and well-behaved.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The problems are technical – you have to decide whether the ads are blocked before they are loaded. At which point you don’t know the answer to most of the questions you listed above. See also the forum discussion I linked to in the blog post, it goes quite a bit more into detail on this.

    I do think there is a need to act already. There are some sites where the percentage of Adblock Plus is significantly above average, for these sites it does matter already. And there will be more of sites like these in future so I think right now is the time to start developing solutions.

  76. Anonymous User · 2009-05-12 04:10 · #

    I have no real objection to this idea, but I wonder what a less-experienced user would think upon seeing this for the first time.

    Would he/she think that the website had somehow managed to hijack ABP? If so, it could lead to needless panic.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I thought about this as well. However, I think the notification bar should be associated with the browser by now, not with the website. And the message is clearly directed from Adblock Plus, not the website. Some improvements to the message might still be useful however.

  77. chewey · 2009-05-12 04:15 · #

    This is a good idea by itself, and you obviously thought about it quite a bit already.

    The unfortunate problem is: It won’t work. Ever. I’m completely with IceDogg here, and disagree with the assumption that it will be used rarely – this is something that will spread like nuclear fueled wildfire amongst “small time webmasters”, and I’m pretty sure this tag would show up on a majority of ad-using sites within a relatively short time, thereby basically making it useless.

    I admit though that the extra layer of “regularly visited site” is probably the best way to suppress notifications on rarely visited sites. I also completely understand the rationale that lead to that idea coming up in the first place – however, I also agree with IceDogg that this is a feature that should not be introduced.

    Or at least, make “evaluate the meta tag” opt-in instead of opt-out.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    If I make this feature opt-in I might as well not implement it at all – users who would opt-in are knowledgeable enough to find “Disable on …” option as well.

  78. David · 2009-05-12 04:22 · #

    Seconding #55 and #74… back when there was only AdBlock I generally used the supported websites feature, which I noticed was absent when moving to ABP. Some of us aren’t terribly worried about the bandwidth usage so much as getting rid of the annoyances (which could probably be said about those who would use the feature proposed here). I tend to find pretty much any ad annoying, but I’d still like to support my more favorite sites, and downloading but not showing the ads would be a feature I’d use; this one I’m less sure about.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    See on why this doesn’t work.

  79. Creepy Crawler · 2009-05-12 04:36 · #

    Well, it’s hit slashdot and Hacker News.

    The big buzz is about a thing in the open source world called a Fork. And your project is the next one to hit it.

    We install Adblock Plus because we want to see no ads. Not “only a few ads”, or “because we want to support the websites”. No, we want NO ads whatsoever.

    Many of us came from the old days where there was no .com , or advertising at all. Now, has commercialization of the web god for everybody? Perhaps, but ads themselves suffer the tragedy of the commons.

    First it started with text ads. I can handle those. Low bandwidth, low attention grab. Then came image ads. They started small at first, but then grew on the top, in the middle, at the bottom and along the sides. I started to look at proxy software that could remove them. Then came popups and popunders. NO MORE.

    I will install whatever software I need to get rid of all ads. I really dont care if I screw over someones business plan. Boo hoo. But if it’s not AdBlock Plus, it’ll be a “Fork of Adblock Plus”. And if I have to be part of it to make sure it’s done right, so be it.

    BTW, tell me why Noscript was soo much worse than selling out?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    A fork because of a feature that is designed to be not annoying and is easily disabled? I doubt that.

    Selling out? Give me a break, nobody pays me for working on Adblock Plus, neither directly nor indirectly. There are different expectations on Adblock Plus and I see many users being concerned that they are harming the websites they care about. This is one way to make Adblock Plus users better net citizens – if they want to be that.

  80. Matt · 2009-05-12 05:03 · #

    Why not consider a special property/file so that webmasters can designate advertisements and their size in the HTML pages? It makes adblocking easier, would allow for easier identification of non-obtrusive advertisements, and can allow the user to selectively disable any particularly obnoxious ads without being technical enough to distinguish them. Only those advertisements clearly labeled as such would be disabled for the site, so webmasters will have to be honest to take advantage of it. This should reduce subversive scripting somewhat. Maybe a right-click menu disable option on the ads would even be possible, since ads would be more obvious.

    If you did a file approach (ads.txt?), webmasters could also designate a webmethod for user feedback. Opt-in flagging of individual ads will let the webmaster know when they (or their advertising partners) have overstepped their bounds and why. Adding a date/expiration property to advertisement objects would let you know when updates take place, and you could offer the user a chance to review it or ignore future updates from the site.

    If you visit frequently enough (or if you like the site and choose the “support this site/subdomain” option, AdblockPlus gives you the opportunity to enable advertisements for the site (and since the webmaster specifies advertisements, filter lists become easier). In that case, the ads.txt file is used to generate a basic site-wide filter.

    I personally would prefer a file-based approach, since it would simplify things immensely and cut down on bandwidth. Forcing webmasters to be more transparent to opt-in is a win situation for everyone. And allowing for optional feedback on why ads were blocked gives sites/advertisers more data, which I’m sure they’ll love. Rather than focusing on blocking ads, you have the perfect opportunity to redefine online advertising. Amazing stuff, that.
    It enhances advertising while simultaneously making punishment swifter and easier for the greedy.

    If you need further feedback, let me know and I’ll be happy to discuss. I have further improvement ideas that might be beneficial.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    If Adblock Plus would actually block based on webmaster’s suggestions this would be open to abuse – there are webmasters there for example that wouldn’t mind suggesting that all of their site’s content should be blocked if the user has Adblock Plus installed. And you really don’t want to trust webmaster’s definition of what is an obnoxious ad – that decision is better left to the user.

    The feedback option also isn’t exactly unproblematic – by submitting feedback you are also telling the webmaster “I am blocking your ads.” There are some webmasters who would love to have such a reliable option to detect Adblock Plus users.

  81. Richard Goforth · 2009-05-12 05:28 · #

    I like this Idea, but propose an addition:
    I think that an additional option, after the user clicks to
    see what the ads would look like, to mark this website as intrusive advertising would be helpful. With enough flags, that site could be added to an “ignore tag” list.

  82. Max · 2009-05-12 05:28 · #

    This is an interesting proposal. However, as webmaster of a high-traffic site, it wouldn’t be cost-effective to improve the “annoyingness” of all my ads just to catch the very small percentage of users who use Firefox with Adblock Plus and are prepared to consider unblocking based on this prompt. It’s better to earn nothing from adblockers and display animated ads to everyone else, because they earn significantly higher revenue.

    If you implemented your proposal, I think I’d just add the tag to my website without making any effort to improve the ads. Because that way, some AdBlock users might decide they’re not too bad, and I’m not jeopardizing my income stream from other users.

    If, however, AdBlock Plus users could give me feedback — for example, “I will tolerate text links from your site but nothing animated” — I’d consider adding code that would serve just text ads to those users. Because there I’m getting the opportunity to earn ad revenue from a user who would otherwise block me, while leaving the majority of my userbase, who don’t use AdBlock, receiving animated, higher-paying ads.


    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I don’t really expect sites with low percentages of Adblock Plus users to jump in on this proposal just yet. There are already some sites that have very significant numbers of Adblock Plus users however.

  83. ashish · 2009-05-12 05:39 · #

    To reduce the number of times this question is asked adblock plus can automatically blacklisting websites which cross a particular threshold, based on feedback by group of people.

    What I am saying is using general opinion of people for filtering that it definitely considered bad.

    The exact statistics have to be worked out to make it statistically significant.

    My 2 cents!

  84. Kadin · 2009-05-12 05:55 · #

    I really don’t understand the motivation behind this. ABP is ad-blocking software. It blocks ads. It does this job really, really well. It’s an example, really, of a piece of software that does exactly what most users want in such a transparent way that they never have to think about it post-installation.

    That’s not a bad thing, that’s the mark of really well-designed software!

    Anything that makes users interact with it more often is, practically by definition, bad. People install ABP because they don’t want to see ads; ABP kills ads; therefore ABP does its job. Why would you change this?

    I just don’t get it. Where’s the motivation for this change? I can’t believe that users are actually clamoring for the “feature” of being pestered with messages asking them to un-block sites — any users that want to un-block a particular site can do this with a few clicks already, if they really want to. Few do, because presumably they don’t want to see ads, which is why they have ABP installed.

    If the pressure isn’t coming from users — if, as I suspect, the pressure is coming from the other side, from webmasters — then I think it’s a terrible idea. Any change made as a result of complaints from webmasters will inherently be a very user-hostile action.

    That just seems fundamentally wrong, to be basing design decisions not on what your users want, but instead on what some other group of people wants. That’s how really bad software, software that’s really unpleasant to use, gets made. That’s the DRM philosophy, when you get right down to it: making your users secondary to someone else’s business model.

    ABP is a great piece of software and an example of how things ought to work; I really hope it doesn’t change.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This is exactly why I want this message not to come up too often – e.g. I could explicitly limit it to once a week (though most users would see it significantly less often still). But – yes, there are quite a few users asking for a way to support the sites that they care about. And – no, most users still don’t know how to do it.

  85. Sam Levine · 2009-05-12 05:58 · #

    I use Adblock because I don’t want to see ads. Ever. Seeing ads is a bug, getting content is a feature.

  86. Samus_ · 2009-05-12 06:06 · #

    it’s a good idea but the metatag is completely worthless, it’s the same as letting the webmaster choose which sites should be excluded (plus user confirmation, which should be asked anyway).

    I think the best is to let adblock check the frequency of the visits and show the “support this site” regardless of the tags it might have, it’s also fair to sites who don’t have budget to hire a dev to make the arrangements and also the metatag won’t prevent annoying ads it’s just overhead for the developer.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Inserting this tag is certainly not a huge burden. However, making the ads acceptable is – and should be. This is really only meant for sites that make an effort, not for any website that happens to be frequently used.

  87. Anony · 2009-05-12 06:09 · #

    The problem with this approach is it seems better suited to annoying sites than annoying ads. A web page frequently contains both annoying and non-annoying ads. As a user, I’d want to encourage the use of non-annoying ads over the annoying ones by blocking one and not the other.

    The people who say the impetus here comes only from site operators are being a bit shortsighted. The ad supported web is already in danger of disappearing. It’s not going to successfully convert into pay content either, it’s just going to be gone.

  88. Phil · 2009-05-12 06:11 · #

    Not just no, but HELL no.

    Are you just bored? Is that why you have to rock the boat?

    Why would you even consider this at all!? And what’s with all the pro-advertisement trolls? There can be only one answer to this question. NO. (On a purely technical level the ability to bypass ABP and allow ads already exists)

    No, I don’t want to deal with a new meta tag which allow ad’s to slip through on boxes I thought I had locked down. I don’t give a crap about advertisers, or webmasters. I’m a webmaster myself! My website is paid for out of my pocket as a sacrifice, not a freaking income source.

    Furthermore, the functionality is already available, as many here have already said, you can disable on or disable for or disable the plugin all together. The beauty is you set it and that’s it.

    It’ll just be another annoying thing to have to set on new folks computers. You know after you defang all the rest of the pop-up, warning crap on their new vista/xp vundu infected boxes, using knoppix to delete the infected xxxxx.dll’s on their stupid box with their small screen and crappy inconsistent keyboards. Surely there are others like me out there that get tagged with this nasty duty. With so much to tweak, they get lucky if I am able to spend the time adding plugins and tuning up firefox.

    If I really wanted a meta tag to bypass everything, I would not have installed something called Ad block Plus (ABP) in the first place.

    If this nonsense is added in, then I probably will be looking for a way to hex edit ABP to make it detect the wrong meta tag, or not ever detect it, then keep that version of the plugin for installing on people’s boxes. Potentially running an OLD version of ABP. To be honest I don’t know yet, because I haven’t seen this nonsense yet. I would end up re-packing the entire plugin if I have to because even though it wastes time now, it will end up saving time in the long run when people start bitching and I have to track it down and then fix it. Wasting more than twice my time. If I see it I will destroy it any way possible. Why fsck up a good thing!?

    On ALL boxes I build or de-virus, I install both ABP and no script. I have used these both since they came out.

    I visit a hell of a lot more than 20 websites a day. I never know WHAT I am going to come up against, and I have run into many nasty things.

    The only thing I can figure going on here is somebody must be pressuring this project to allow ads. Don’t you get enough ads on your TV, Radio? This is your internet connection, something we should have control over.

    If you really have your heart set on rolling this nonsense out, at least make TWO VERSIONS of the plugin, one traditional ABP, and one called Ad Allow Plus (AAP)

    As a side note: Although I don’t speak for him, I would bet $100 — +FRAVIA would not approve.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Just because people have a different opinion than you doesn’t mean that they are trolls. Also, please read my proposal before commenting – this tag isn’t about bypassing anything, it is about asking the user occasionally if he visits this site frequently (probably going to be limited to at most one question a week though most users should see that question significantly less often).

  89. mrbene · 2009-05-12 06:23 · #

    Take a re-read of the proposal. The goal is to allow a site owner to engage with the web user – the meta tag would not disable ad blocking, but would remind the user that the whitelist functionality existed. It would only do this on sites they revisited with some (yet to be determined) frequency.

    Also, it would be possible to squelch this behavior completely with a config option.

    Oh, and for the record, if you need to modify an add-on, unzip the file then use a text editor. Much easier than hex editing.

  90. someone · 2009-05-12 06:34 · #

    Why can’t we just have a slider that just allows the number of ads per page? I mean that solves the problem of having too many ads on a page (that come up on the blacklists), but say I am not usually offended by one or two ads, it’s the miles and miles of ads that are in content and around content. So in this example the first three or four ads on a page are displayed by default. If you want no ads, slide it to zero and it works as normal, if you want more for whatever reason but have some sort of hard limit you can slide it to there.

    Then there is always the personal whitelist/blacklists to handle on top of it, but I feel this is a relatively sane idea because the ads that should be worth more are the first two or three ads on a page, and if you have more than that you are just digging for money. In a sense it gives the user the control of blocking all ads, and ads that are generally considered user-unsafe or whatever per domain should be blacklisted automatically.

    So anyway, the first few ads should be the click grabbers in the first place, and I would be fine with having a slider to allow those first two or three but then just ignoring the rest. I feel this is a good compromise because the people who want to block all ads will block all ads anyway. I do think there is also value in giving the user access to the anti-adblock for frequent visits, but it should be handled in such a fashion that the user controls it and it’s not a meta tag. The worst would be some fancy jscript in an invisible iframe that somehow triggers a common whitelisted domain (facebook or something) and we get the ads somehow anyway.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The problem is that counting the number of ads is everything but trivial. If one script is allowed it might insert a few dozen ads into the page – or none. And there is no way to make a connection between these ads and the script that we unblocked. That’s really the biggest problem with it, otherwise I would seriously consider it.

  91. Ken W · 2009-05-12 06:51 · #

    DevN · 2009-05-12 01:32 at #66 wrote:

    Ken W · 2009-05-12 01:16 at #61 wrote:

    “It should be the choice of the business owner.”

    Then you pay for the development of a program that does what you want. Not leech off freely developed programs. If your business cannot thrive in such an environment, it probably does not deserve to stay in business.

    You mean like paying for the development and administration of a website that’s offered free to the public because it’s supported by advertising? Yeah, I’ve done that. And you’re correct that ad-supported websites would not survive in an environment where ads are not served. It’s a pretty good model that gives tremendous benefit to users if you ask me.

    Personally, I’m not too concerned about ad blocking. People who are saying “I don’t click on ads, so it doesn’t matter” are wrong – most of my ads are impression-based – but it’s a minority of users and more of an annoyance than anything. Kind of like the loss retailers expect from shoplifting.

    But I think it’s hard to argue that the business should not be able to decide how to handle what is – I know you don’t want to hear it – theft of the service. What real-world business would you apply that logic to?

    The ad-supported model is simple: the site provides a service free of charge to the user in exchange for displaying advertising. If a user does not want to see those ads, the site owner is well within his “rights” to deny service to that user. I wouldn’t expect ABP to take that approach, but it’s the more logical one if they are looking to add awareness of the plugin into the mix.

    Like I said, it wouldn’t be my approach, but I can understand the reaction. And I also very much understand the reaction of people that use ABP because of all the crappy site publishers who abuse advertising and make the model that brought you free television, radio, weekly newspapers, etc. possible really unpleasant online.

  92. Gaspard · 2009-05-12 07:03 · #

    I think you should change the meta tag to:

    < meta name=“adblock” content=“annoy” / >


    < meta name=“myads” content=“arenotannoying” / >

    or something dumb like that…

    I don’t condone the adding of yet another meta tag to sites, I think it’s not going to help anyone…

    Obviously then you could have many many other meta “disable” tags for other extensions… it’s not a workable solution.

    If they want their ads to be shown, make them non-annoying and talk to the subscription listings people.

    What we need is a crowd-sourced moderation for ads (rating like Annoying/Non-annoying for each ad so you can contribute to your community and consistent offenders are punished!?

    What do you think

  93. Creepy Crawler · 2009-05-12 07:07 · #


    Fravia passed away on May 3 (8 days ago). I learned so much from him and his band of adherents.

    I hope he brings his enlightened outlook on his next life.

  94. Mike · 2009-05-12 07:11 · #

    I’m firmly in the anti-ad camp. I went off cable TV years ago when nearly all channels went 24×7 advertising. (The corner bug counts). Most of what I watch now is on DVDs, skipping the ads, of course. I find it terrifying to use a browser without ad-blocking. I can’t find the non-ad material for all the cruft.

    Anything that weakens ad-blocking is a bad idea, plain and simple. Those warning of a fork speak wisely. Implement anything that weakens the armor and the fork will allow you to count your user base without taking off your socks.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The decision will always stay with the user – so how does that “weaken the armor”? It’s not like the user will be constantly nagged either, if implemented this notification will probably be limited to come up at most once per week (though most users should see it significantly less often).

  95. Wisepi26 · 2009-05-12 07:13 · #

    First of all i would say you do an excellent job with the development of this add-on, many people can’t imagin firefox with out it.
    Respect this topic, i am completly agree with that the users must have the control of the content that they want to see (this add-on makes the network more democratic), in this case the advertising.
    The system you are proposing is the best that could be implemented. If the webmasters have a good relation with their visitor, they will not have problems in accepting advertising for that site.
    Maybe my vision about this is too simple, but is the unique that i have :P
    As a last thing, sorry for the bad English (I don’t finish my studies of this language :S )


  96. Phil · 2009-05-12 07:22 · #


    For the record, the top of this thread asked for feedback. “No login” bla bla. So I gave it.

    I agree unpacking the .xpi would be much easier. However the word: “unpacking” doesn’t make for good “drama” like “hex editing” out adblock in the meta tag does. Surly you can agree?

    As far as I am concerned it’s incremental-ism, today it’s only an opt-in button with x+1 random popup question, and next month it’s an XHTML standard, and next year it’s an exploit.

    We didn’t install it to allow ad’s now did we?

    Plus, one has to wonder where all the pressure for this came from. The plugin is called “ad block”, not “ad block or allow SOME.”

    I believe it will fork if it travels down this road. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

    No disrespect to Wladimir Palant for suggesting it. It’s been proven clearly when advertisers have their way, they will exploit things to the last drop. I disagree with Wladimir Palant and I think he’s wrong and folks (as long as they are not advertiser trolls) will disagree with him.

    And again, if you really must see the ad’s on your favorite webpage, you can always disable ABP as it stands currently with no changes.

    I still buy music dvd’s, cd’s, electronic gear, guitars, bass’s, bid on auction websites, purchase software, and all the crap I do now, without any ads. Why would I want to look at ads when I am buying something and I am forced to look at ads for the same or similar crap that I am buying? It’s annoying as hell. Although your comment is not as it allows for some feedback.

    @Creepy Crawler
    “Fravia passed away on May 3 (8 days ago). I learned so much from him and his band of adherents.

    I hope he brings his enlightened outlook on his next life.”

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! As far as feeling somewhat bad at this news I guess I just lost $100 in a surprise kind of way.

  97. Ian · 2009-05-12 07:35 · #

    Three things:

    1. The incentives for the meta tag are wrong. The website operator who displays ads hopes to make money from them, and setting the meta tag allows him to collect some small amount of money from regular visitors who use ABP where before he collected none by convincing them to click “What would it look like?”. Regardless of whether he thinks his ads are tolerable or not, using the meta tag allows him to increase his revenue by some amount from a class of users he had previously written off. Thus, he will most likely simply add the meta tag without changing his ads to be more tolerable. (Not to mention that reworking his ads to be tolerable is much more work than adding a meta tag to the header.) Certainly some web operators will improve their behavior, but I doubt that many will.

    At the moment I don’t have a properly-incentived solution that gives the web operator any influence. However, I do think that the core idea of using user history to determine what sites to turn ads on is sound. You don’t need web operator input to occasionally (at some maximum rate, even; e.g., three times per week) ask the user if she would like to support one of the sites she regularly visits by enabling the ads.

    2. Allowing the web operator to control any of the content in your chrome is a potential security risk and also means that some web operators will subvert that medium by saying offensive things in their alloted space, or even using it as a space to advertise… For this reason I would recommend that you not allow the web operator to put his “name” in the chrome when you ask the user if she wants to allow advertising on the site.

    3. Using a pop-up window to show the page with ads on it would make me immediately disable the feature, or at least never click on “What would it look like?”. I think that creating a new browser object in the current chrome and displaying the “preview” in that would make for a (potentially) less intrusive experience. Of course, you would have to do a fair amount of work to make certain that things like changing tabs behaved correctly, so it is certainly a more technically-challenging solution.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Thanks for your comments, they are certainly worth considering.

    Concerning the third point – I was only mentioning a new window because that’s the only solution where I can guarantee that it is implementable. I want to provide a better user experience here as well but finding out whether it is possible will require quite some experimenting first.

  98. jackC · 2009-05-12 08:11 · #

    This better be a joke, an ad blocker that allows ads. I’ll be the first one who creates a fork of this extension.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    No, Adblock Plus only allows ads if the user decides to allow them – that’s the way it already works and it will not change.

  99. mrbene · 2009-05-12 08:51 · #

    I’ve generally erred on the technically correct over the sensational. Sure, “hex editing” is more dramatic. But it’s pretty much incorrect.

    And my text “the goal is to allow a site owner to engage with the web user” is a reference to the proposed Adblock Plus feature, not to either the forum or the comments.

    I do agree that, if ABP were to begin allowing on page code to bypass user-defined filters, there’d be a fork. But this is not that. It’s much more of a “put your money where your mouth is”, called out by threads like this, and in support of the longstanding stance that Wladimir has made – specifically, “do what is best for your users instead. Make sure nobody wants to block your advertisements.”

    This functionality allows website owners the opportunity to enter dialog with their visitors. That’s a good thing. And if this functionality doesn’t exist? There are current workarounds that I have outlined – they’re not well fleshed out, but they’re references to efforts that various site owners have implemented over the last few years. There’s at least one Wordpress plugin that uses the honeypot, and is actively maintained.

  100. Anonymous · 2009-05-12 08:56 · #

    I’d rather have a meta tag saying, in essense, “adblock users are not welcome here”. The extension can display a nearly blank message explaining the presense of the meta tag. I’ll gladly browse to where they are. After all, the webmasters view of doubleclick (google) is not my concern. My opinion is already formed. This methodology allows the complainers to “put up, or shut up”. You can have my attention but not with the ads.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this tag would help anybody…

  101. Norman Andrews · 2009-05-12 09:41 · #

    No, no, a thousand times no.

    I want Adblock Plus to block ads. The advertisers have no say. That is the whole point.

    Otherwise it ought to be called Adsometimesblockandothertimesdisplaydependingonhowhardandloudtheadvertiserwhinesliesandbullies Plus.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The advertisers still won’t have any say – with or without my proposal. Everything is up to the users, they make the decision. Please re-read my proposal.

  102. Madison Avenu · 2009-05-12 10:01 · #

    I remember when expensive cable TV was going to bring “commercial-free” TV. As previously noted, we now have hundreds of channels of 24/7 ads. And BILLY MAYS.

    I agree with the “Adblocker is there to block ads” philosophy. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Put the burden of complexity and cost recovery entirely on people who WANT ads. Wladimir, WHERE’S YOUR YACHT?

    If advertising is not targeted, it’s useless spam. If it’s targeted, it’s spying on you.

    It has to end, and will end. The enormous freed-up bandwidth expense will more than compensate quality content creators from a “commons” no longer defaced and pillaged by people too lame to come up with a new business idea.

    They’ll have to rob banks (or run them!) for a living, instead.

  103. Jay · 2009-05-12 10:04 · #

    As a blogger, webmaster, and web surfer, I like this idea. On my sites, I use non-invasive, text link, adsense ads. There is nothing annoying about them, even their placement is out of the way on the side.

    I don’t understand why anyone would have issues if the ads aren’t overdone and/or intrusive.

    The functionality has always been there to allow or disallow ads. This would just allow users to have a better grasp on what sites have a large amount of ads, and which ones don’t.

    @Norman Andrews:
    See above. What this change would do is give the user a better way to control their choice, nothing more. As a user myself, I tend to block some ads and not others. Anything that gives me greater control over my attention/resources is welcome in my book.

    I would not use a more restrictive ad blocker myself. Some sites do deserve my support, and I do support them when I can.

  104. Grey · 2009-05-12 10:09 · #

    I personally, think this a great idea. There are certainly areas that could be improved upon. For example, I do not keep a browser history, so while I visit certain sites often, how would adblock know to offer this disable-adblock option? However as both a webmaster and an adblock user, I can see this as a very positive option.

    Users who wish not to see any adds, will not be bothered thanks to the disable option.
    Users who wish to support certain websites will ALSO be given the option to do so easily.
    And finally, webmasters are given the chance to ‘have their say’ as well.

    Everyone wins, for the —perceived cost— of a single “are you sure” dialog once in a very long while.

    I would happily see this option added. – Grey.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Thanks for the comment. Concerning browsing history, I answered that question above already:

    I think the default for history is 90 days in Firefox 3. Even the Firefox 2 default of 9 days would work. If the user is privacy-obsessed and cleans the history more frequently – well, I don’t think this kind of user would be interested in allowing ads anyway (they are privacy-relevant as well after all). What I know for sure is that users who clear their history are a very tiny minority.

  105. Jay · 2009-05-12 10:15 · #

    @Madison Avenu
    “It has to end, and will end. The enormous freed-up bandwidth expense will more than compensate quality content creators from a “commons” no longer defaced and pillaged by people too lame to come up with a new business idea.”

    Ah, the words of a true information leecher that doesn’t support the sites they frequent. I don’t see an end in the near future for ads. What you’re missing is that bandwidth saved doesn’t equate to paying the bills. Most of the smaller sites have ads to help offset the cost of hosting, bandwidth, and/or software.

  106. Paul · 2009-05-12 10:19 · #

    Why not have a ‘trusted advertiser’ mode? Basically, accreditation/ratings for sites based on how annoying and intrusive their advertising is.

    What you would have is a peer review system for sites which carry advertising. When a website is submitted to this system (restricted to, say, once every three months max), it is reviewed by the community (of registered, identifiable users) and rated for intrusiveness, annoyance factor, use of flash, use of javascript, use of animated gifs, use of sound, use of popups, etc etc. This gives a series of ratings for the site which can then be weighted by a user in adblock. A user should be allowed to set each category anywhere from “not ok at all” to “totally ok” (by using a 0-10 scale, for instance).

    For example, I hate flash ads. HATE them. So I want to set my browsing experience to “no flash ads at all”. Then any sites the community has rated above 0 (or some very low threshold) for prominent use of flash will still have their ads blocked.

    On the other hand, I don’t mind animated gifs. So I will accept sites which score, say, 5 out of 10 or lower for “prominent use of animated gifs” on our community rating system.

    You could extend this to tracking cookies and the like too.

    Thus when adblock goes to a site, it can compare the database of that site’s ratings with the specific user’s preferences, and display or not display the ads contained in the site accordingly.

    Result: each user can choose to accept non-intrusive ads, but need only set up their browsing experience once based on their general preferences. Each webmaster, on the other hand, must invest the time to get their site rated by an independent group of people, with the knowledge that they will not get away with too much flash, javascript, etc.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This is an option – but building up such a system (and, more importantly, getting it right) will require much time. So unless somebody volunteers to do the work I doubt that this suggestion is realistic.

  107. steve · 2009-05-12 10:23 · #

    My eyes hurt reading this thread. A thought provoking notion maybe… but from the owner of an adblocking extension? Very odd to me. I’ll watch the outcome with interest lol.

  108. lostsoulz · 2009-05-12 10:29 · #

    No, no and thrice no. I use Adblock to stop all advertising. One can’t do anything these days without the insipid annoyance of advertising. It’s on the TV, in just about all printed material and everywhere on the internet. On the internet, it has the added bonus of b0rking page layout and making it even more difficult to concentrate on an article thanks to flash craziness or an old-school animated gif. I don’t want advertising to ruin web pages – this is why I use Adblock.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, I fully agree with you – most of the time ads are annoying, and it is getting worse all the time. Which is why I want to influence this trend, to encourage advertising that is not annoying. Of course, everybody has a different tolerance level and some people will just turn that feature off. That’s ok.

  109. Steve Bosell · 2009-05-12 10:32 · #

    I also have a new business idea: I’ll introduce a line of condoms that work most of the time, but if some obstetrician wants to sponsor one or two condoms, I’ll poke some holes in them and throw the business his way. Sweet mother of all bad ideas, are you getting bribed to consider this? Browsing the Internet without adblock is like (extending my sexual analogy) whoring without protection. Who the hell would ‘opt-in’ for some STD?

    Dude, for bringing me adblock I would have a sex change and bear your children (we’ve come full circle here). Don’t do it! Think
    of the children!!11one

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Please re-read my proposal – the decision is still with the user and it will stay that way. If you want to block all ads you are free to do that.

  110. Klaus Benner · 2009-05-12 10:48 · #

    The moment you introduce that annoying feature is the moment I stop updating to new versions of Adblock Plus. If I wanted any ads, I wouldn’t have installed your plugin in the first place. What do I care that the owners of that ad “really, really want me to see it”? Plus it opens up the possibility of hacks and work-arounds to circumvent Adblock protection.

    If I were you, instead of this new “feature”, I would work hard to ensure no ads are shown, since more and more are not blocked anyway. What you want to include in Adblock Plus is self defeating: I don’t want to be asked about ads, I have given the answer already by installing your plugin.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Plus it opens up the possibility of hacks and work-arounds to circumvent Adblock protection

    How? By triggering a question that the user might occasionally see?

    since more and more are not blocked anyway

    I don’t maintain any filter lists. If you see ads not being blocked – feel free to contribute to EasyList. Suggestions go here:

  111. Phil · 2009-05-12 11:00 · #


    Sure, “hex editing” is more dramatic. But it’s pretty much incorrect.

    Yet even if it’s manually pushing the car up the hill, it does quickly end the problem. e.g. I can search and replace all instances of adblock in a meta tag with high ascii random nonsense and make the plugin behave to my desire even if it’s a copyrighted binary. Stating that my method is incorrect, is in itself incorrect. One thing I learned long ago, is if it works, use it. To be honest I was out scrapbooking the last days of fravia’s website since I just learned of the news his death. With that task now complete and many lessons fresh in my mind, I now argue that this “PROPOSED” , yet not commited change is now irrelevant. At least to me personally, as I now have the source code, and copies of all the current blocklists. As others have said it will fork. If you don’t get it, that’s your dilemma not mine. I find it an amazing deja-vu and synchronicity that I even brought up Fravia (a nick name) here and would point out to you it’s actually more relevant now than ever before. I don’t ever recall +F using the word “fascism” but I will use it.

    “the goal is to allow a site owner to engage with the web user”

    The site owner already engages the web browser and user. The tool is there. You need look no farther than my own website for an example. EVERYTHING on my website is technically an ad, yet I make zero profit, and it actually costs me to operate it. Why do I have a link to Lexicon, or Ibanez vs Marlboro or Budweiser (Oh the irony!)

    When you tell me “advertising is good for websites” I translate that to “strategize dot-com content.”
    (Reference: )

    Furthermore, propaganda such as “put your money where your mouth is” translates to “empower customized mindshare.”

    Frankly, the reason ads exist is for profit. If you don’t give a crap about profit (either your rich, you have it already, or you just simply can’t buy anything) then ads are waste to you and your browser.
    (we will ignore bandwidth as an excuse, I believe it’s irrelevant also.) However if you do care about ads you will go to ANY length to make a profit.

    I have hit such “ABP detection” websites as you suggested and usually the sites that have them are trying to screw you up somehow via javascript. (as I subtly and originally hinted at the TR/Vundo.Gen Trojan) At best they just bitch that you have some script blocking lit up. At worst you will need to reformat all because someone want’s to make a profit.

    If you can’t see that commercialism is destroying Earth I pity you. Yet at the same time I thank you for allowing me yet more feedback.

  112. Phil · 2009-05-12 11:16 · #

    Isn’t it also very interesting, most of the PRO-ADVERTISING posts in this thread have no website or contact.


    Or Seed Test thread?

    Again no disrespect to Wladimir Palant.

    I get it I do.

    I hope you get it too.

  113. halfasleep · 2009-05-12 11:16 · #

    To go with the “educating webmasters” idea, could you (opt in) collect stats so you can publish a list like 10% of ABP users unblock and 70% unblock This would give webmasters a simple guide to what is and isn’t acceptable

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, I would like to have something like this, see also my reply to comment 49.

  114. Me · 2009-05-12 11:18 · #

    If you allow certain ads past the blocker, that will be the death of your product. Just ask Norton, who cornered the market until they sold out, and AVG who’s on the way with their 8.5 version nonsense.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Please re-read my proposal. You allow certain ads past the blocker – or not. The decision is always with the user and it will stay like this.

  115. michael · 2009-05-12 11:26 · #

    No. Just no.

    Advertisers have had their chance in the past to behave, and they abuse the privilege. Just look at any major website in the Netscape 4 days, and you see what happens when they are allowed to run free.

    While I admit that small content needs the support from advertisers as well, I’ve seen plenty of small content providers abuse this as well. Not to mention what happens next time their site gets attacked, it gets filled with abusive advertising again.

    If you should have learnt anything from your recent NoScript debarkle is that you should not trust advertisers and publishers to act in your best interest.

    I would suggest though that if you must go ahead with it, that there are certain restrictions that Adblock Plus implements before considering displaying the “I’m being nice” notice. That is, it should NEVER display the prompt if it contains an animated GIF with frame times of less than five seconds, or uses any plugin (including Java), or any Javascript.

    Be aware though that by even considering this action, you’re on the road to allowing many more concessions in the future. You’re compromising your product as a whole, and you’re ripe for being forked (after all, you guys are a fork yourselves).

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine what the ads are before they are loaded – and they don’t load because we blocked them. I would really like to have some objective cut-off to sites hosting too many/too annoying ads but I don’t see how this can be done.

    Adblock Plus will always leave the decision with the user. It doesn’t matter which feature I add next, if ads are to be allowed then only because that’s what the user wanted.

  116. Phil · 2009-05-12 11:28 · #

    I’m so glad that the consensus here is that to commit to this specific change would be a mistake.

    Clearly the people posting with no website, are remaining anonymous for a reason, an agenda, for profit.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I heard your opinion. Now please don’t try to make an impression like there are more people supporting you. Most other commenters are also Adblock Plus users, just like you. I don’t know whether this is a surprise to you but many people just don’t have a website (or don’t want to show off with it in a discussion like this one).

  117. WCityMike · 2009-05-12 11:45 · #

    I’d definitely track down how to permanently disable this feature. Hell, when Daily Kos posted its little “hey, ABP users, you really suck” perma-rant that shows up when someone’s using ABP, I tracked down someone’s recipe for zapping that.

    The fact is, the web-based advertising industry long ago broke their covenant with the user, and they did so to such an extent and with such arrogance that that is why ABP is a monster hit.

    Still, if it’s a choice between enabling the current ad model or having them resort to something worse (similar to “product placement” in television shows or movies — i.e. that utterly idiotic appearance of Nokia in the new Trek flick) — then fine, I’m willing to try to come to some sort of peace with advertisers.

    But I’d make that very clear: that one of the reasons that this model needs to work is so that worse things don’t come to pass.

    I’d also point out that there could be a problem with web-based aggregators … i.e. Google Reader … where one site does not necessarily mean “one site,” if you know what I mean.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that web-based advertising hasn’t become a great deal more intelligent. Computers can create incredible semantic models, base predictions on what music I’d like … but they’re still going to blindly pitch me animated GIFs, etc.? There’s so much automated tech out there that could custom-serve me ads I might actually be interested in. I’m surprised that web advertisers aren’t getting off their ass and implementing that kind of stuff.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, I am mostly proposing this because I think that the alternatives are worse. Daily Kos is a good example – they showed that message permanently and often to users who don’t even have Adblock Plus installed. That’s very different from showing the message once for a site and even that only if it is appropriate (user visits the site frequently) and not too often (limit the total number of messages across all sites to maybe one per week). Also, pushing websites towards product placements and similar isn’t something I would like Adblock Plus to do.

  118. sys · 2009-05-12 11:47 · #

    No. Advertising is silly. I’m willing to make micropayments for content if somebody sets up the infrastructure for it. And I’m more than willing to pay Adblock Plus developers and filter maintainers.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Nobody did set up an infrastructure for micropayments unfortunately…

  119. DevN · 2009-05-12 12:01 · #

    Ken W at #91 wrote:
    You mean like paying for the development and administration of a website that’s offered free to the public because it’s supported by advertising? Yeah, I’ve done that. And you’re correct that ad-supported websites would not survive in an environment where ads are not served. It’s a pretty good model that gives tremendous benefit to users if you ask me.

    Kind of like the loss retailers expect from shoplifting.

    But I think it’s hard to argue that the business should not be able to decide how to handle what is – I know you don’t want to hear it – theft of the service. What real-world business would you apply that logic to?

    The ad-supported model is simple: the site provides a service free of charge to the user in exchange for displaying advertising. If a user does not want to see those ads, the site owner is well within his “rights” to deny service to that user. I wouldn’t expect ABP to take that approach, but it’s the more logical one if they are looking to add awareness of the plugin into the mix.

    Like I said, it wouldn’t be my approach, but I can understand the reaction. And I also very much understand the reaction of people that use ABP because of all the crappy site publishers who abuse advertising and make the model that brought you free television, radio, weekly newspapers, etc. possible really unpleasant online.
    If it benefits your users, then they should have no problem enabling the ads as per your instructions on your web pages.

    Comparing adblock to shoplifting is a gross misunderstanding of who paid for the infrastructure. My taxes have paid and still pay for maintaining local infrastructure in addition to monthly rates for access.

    Nothing is free. There is a cost to me to look at your ads. Same with TV, Radio, etc., all are not free contrary to your opinion. Moreover if the content’s free, then why are you selling ads. If it’s not free, then use some other paid services model to sell your wares. It’s not like you are being thwarted from having a legit business by tools like Adblock. If you’re worried about theft, use controlled access to your content.

    Me using Adblock is no more than muting TV ads or walking away from the TV to go get a snack. It’s not theft of service. If anything, your business model is a gross intrusion in the free flow of ideas on public communication networks.

    Bottom line, expecting universal tools in the service of (failed) business models is a losing proposition — both for your business and for the development of tools. You already have failed in the first. Let’s not fail in the second too.

  120. ew · 2009-05-12 12:05 · #

    Why so complicated? Why not just allow static content like JPEG and disallow everything flashing and popping like GIF and Flash?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Because that would be more complicated. You cannot tell whether the ad will be animated without unblocking it (in case of animated GIFs probably not even then) – at which point it is already too late.

  121. DevN · 2009-05-12 12:15 · #


    DevN · 2009-05-11 21:56 · #

    If the product is about blocking ads, then stick to that. If it’s being transformed into blocking ads based on what content providers think, then create a separate product that requires user choices, clicks, and frequent interventions. I’d say leave ad blocking to AdBlock as users come to expect or else there is likely to be other products which will fill the void. Who knows the other products might even been better.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    So you think seeing that question once a week isn’t something you would agree to?

    Reply from DevN:

    No. As it is we can opt-in any website we choose. What’s wrong with that model?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The problem is that such an opt-in is already too complicated for most users. Don’t judge by yourself – most Adblock Plus users don’t have that kind of expertise. Judging by the forum, most people never find that option (or any other Adblock Plus option). Which is why a direct question is necessary.

  122. Jfk003 · 2009-05-12 12:17 · #

    Dear Mr Pallant,

    Very good idea indeed.

    However, I’d like to express some doubts about the yellow warning bar that appears…to me, it looks like something that a user will see as a threat, and will want to discard quickly. The text on the bar should be shorter, because as it stands, I fear people will click “no thanks” without even reading…
    I’m making a website now, which will rely on (unobstrusive) ads…while your idea is good, the message still isn’t clear enough. I don’t want to put garbage in my users browser! I just want to put some ads and use the money to run the site…
    Hmm, what if your bar was green ? Because yellow = warning threat, the users would be scared; but with green, they are more prone to respond in a positive way and not block the ads maybe ?
    What do you think ?

    Best regards

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, changing the color of the notification would be good – but might cause undesired effects depending on user’s browser theme. Also, it would make the notification bar less recognizable, the users have learned already that this yellow bar is a browser notification and doesn’t belong to the website.

    And cutting down on text is always a good idea – do you have any specific proposals?

  123. Fred · 2009-05-12 12:20 · #

    This is a ridiculous idea and it seems because of your run in with the Noscript dev you are afraid of another confrontation. You either want to block ads or you do not.

    I would rather pay for content then see ads and being asked questions about ads is a waste of my time and this will be abused. If you make it optional well that is a different story.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I have been in a constant confrontation for as long as I develop Adblock Plus – and I don’t have a problem with that. However, I also expressed for just as long that I want the web to move into the “right” direction where webmasters are in a dialog with their users rather than doing carpet bombing with ads.

    You either want to block ads or you do not.

    I strongly disagree. While this might be true for you this is certainly not true for all Adblock Plus users. The requests I see in the forum as well as many comments here make it very clear.

    And as the blog post clearly states – this feature will certainly be optional, you will be able to disable it if supporting websites isn’t your thing.

  124. neddy · 2009-05-12 12:28 · #

    If this idea is implemented (I’m guessing WP has pretty well made up his mind to introduce it) I trust it will be possible for a user to turn it off globally via a preference.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The blog post clearly states that…

  125. flabdablet · 2009-05-12 12:42 · #

    I would much rather not see this in ABP. If a webmaster wants to invite me to unblock ads on their site, they are already perfectly free to stick a bit of HTML on the site attempting to guilt me into doing that, perhaps even including a link to instructions that say how.

    The point of ABP for me is to stop websites from getting in my face with distractions. If ABP itself started pestering me with info bars and decisions, I’d quickly be reverting to a version that didn’t do that, and if that became unsustainable I’d fork the bloody thing myself.

    I have no objection to some kind hearted soul making available a subscription to an ABP-compatible whitelist of sites whose advertising is generally agreed to be innocuous. I even have no objection to ABP being modified, if necessary, to support such a whitelist. But the bar for “innocuous” would have to be set pretty high for me to even consider subscribing.

    Anybody who truly thinks that I’m some kind of pirate because I refuse to look at Web advertising is quite welcome to their spurious feeling of moral superiority. Water off a duck’s back to me.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Some websites are already doing that “with a bit of HTML”. But I think that this nagging causes a really bad user experience and doesn’t allow users to make an informed decision. Which is why I would like to provide a better alternative – one that wouldn’t ask you for a decision too often (once per week at most, likely a lot less often however) and that lets you see what you are agreeing to.

  126. flabdablet · 2009-05-12 12:45 · #

    The fact is, the web-based advertising industry long ago broke their covenant with the user, and they did so to such an extent and with such arrogance that that is why ABP is a monster hit


  127. fork · 2009-05-12 12:50 · #

    This sounds like a great candidate for a fork. You could call it AdUnblock or maybe Annoyblock?

    It would turn a great addon which does the specified job (blocking ads) in a nice and efficient way into an addon which does something entirely different (annoy users and maybe show ads anyway).

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Please re-read my proposal. This question is specifically meant to be not annoying which is why you won’t see that question too often – even if you keep that feature enabled, something you don’t have to. And Adblock Plus will never allow ads just because some webmaster said so, the decision will always be up to the user (as it already is).

  128. MMM · 2009-05-12 13:30 · #

    Hi, I don’t see the point of this feature.

    From a webmaster point of view, one is adding banners/advertising not to provide better service or enhance the content itself but to create money (I mean this in a neutral way). So as soon as you add banners/advertising you would always want this new meta tag.

    From a web user point of view, you want a tool that blocks advertising and spyscripts (e.g. googleanalytics)… most of all the annoying ones that made you to install this add-on in the first place. As soon as you made this decision you don’t want nagging messages in another form. Respect the wishes from the end use.

    Where I see the middle ground for fairness are the filter lists. Give the possibility to tune the level of advertisment suppression… from “suppress annoying only” to “suppress all”. Perhaps as a level that each filterlist entry has: 0=dangerous 1=highly annoying (animation or sounds), 2=mildly annoying (layout), 3=not that much annoying, 4=other advertising, 5=extra information). Secondly make it easier to support websites you like, with one filter level for all websites and one filter level for those in a whitelist (like the cookies handling in firefox). Hope you like it.

    Greetings from Sweden

  129. Daniel · 2009-05-12 13:31 · #

    I think the basic idea is pretty good, but suffers from a few drawbacks

    1. It requires the user to read some text and make a decision. Not often, I’ll grant you, but a solution that requires no user intervention at all would be better.

    2. It works as long as the webmaster cooperates. It’s in the interest of the webmaster to cooperate, but you should never underestimate the capacity of people to act dumb. Many webmasters will copy-and-paste the tag without giving it a second thought. The result is that their site will be blacklisted, but also has the side effect that it trains the user to click “no thanks” by reflex. Too many bad apples will spoil this scheme.

    Here is my counter-proposal.

    1. have the user configure what ads are acceptable with regards to format (text/image/flash), size (banner/leaderboard/rectangle/etc), sound, number of ads, etc. At installation ask the user if he wants to block ALL ads or the ANNOYING ads (that seems to be the 2 kinds of adblock users).

    2. have adblock block all ads except when it encounters an iframe with an “ad” attribute that lists the properties of the ad displayed by that iframe

    3. if the ad fits the user’s creteria, the iframe src is fetched and analyzed; if it fits with the stated description (e.g. no OBJECT tag for text or image ads) then the ad is displayed.

    This scheme has the advantage that:

    1. It’s not a simple matter of adding a meta-tag; the webmaster has to be somewhat dedicated about serving non-annoying ads
    2. the webmaster has to disclose his ads; anything else is agressively blocked
    3. we have a proto-standard that could eventually be adopted by the major browsers themselves
    4. it promotes the use of iframe to load ads asynchronously and reduce overall page load time
    5. in theory this allows the webmaster to provide fallback iframes for less-annoying version of certain ads, but that would allow detection of adblock :-(

    I know this goes a fair way beyond the simple “patch” that you had in mind, but I think it has potential.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Your counter-proposal was/is being discussed in the forum thread I linked to. The obvious issue is that you have to make a decision on whether the ad should be blocked before it is loaded – at which point you know almost nothing about it.

  130. Karl · 2009-05-12 13:36 · #

    I think this is a bad idea. I use AdBlock to block every ad that try to get displayed, regardless of its type. I also block all web beacons, trackers, counters and the like. With AdBlock on my relatively slow link (512 kbit/s, ~100-150 ms ping) web pages load 3 times faster without all this crap. The additional flag will be abused from day one, as there are no morals in advertisement business. Plus, it’s my decision to blok or not block. I do not want any additional nag screens, questions, opt-ins or anything like that. I bet that someone will make a fork sooner or later and we’ll see a shift in install base, just like when XFree86 has changed its licensing and all Linux distributions moved to… and i will be first to switch, no regrets.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This feature will be easy to switch off – and that’s something that you certainly should do. But there are certainly also Adblock Plus users who wouldn’t.

  131. blah · 2009-05-12 13:50 · #

    I’m sure this change is going to be made anyway, I suspect there’s an exchange of money going on that we might never hear about. In either case, as a long time Adblock Plus user I’ll quite happily uninstall the addon if it ever allows selective unblocking of ads by corporations willing to “donate.”

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Heh… I am not accepting donations from users, do you think I am accepting donations from “corporations”? Also, please re-read the proposal – this is about allowing selective unblocking of ads by users (something that is already possible but somewhat more complicated), the users stay in control and this will never change.

  132. Dave · 2009-05-12 14:02 · #

    As a web publisher who relies on advertising revenue and someone who uses AdBlock regularly on many sites, I really like the idea. I only question the need for the meta tag. You can guarantee that all of the developers who uses excessive, annoying advertisement will include the tag. I know that it will only appear on sites that are frequented, but that seems to be all you need. Why not do away with the meta tag? Just have a global setting that the user is willing to evaluate the display of advertising on sites that they frequent. If no, AdBlock behaves as expected. Is yes, only sites that are visited a few times in a short period have the dialog pop up without the need for a meta tag.

    Another solution may be a new filter list that isn’t so aggressive. It only filters ads from advertisers that are known to be obnoxious or from sites that use excessive amounts. I would certainly subscribe to that. If enough people use it, it could really force the ad companies to change while not punishing good publishers who have to make a living.

  133. Jfk003 · 2009-05-12 14:24 · #

    Dear Mr. Palant

    Thanks for the answer.

    I think the message on the top is really essential for your idea to work properly, really.

    Though I’m not a native speaker, I gave a try on the shortening of the sentences in the message. Guess what, I couldn’t get it shorter…!
    But I think there is still room for small improvements, regardings its readability.

    First, it would be a good idea to add a line feed or a blank line (or both even) after the sentence “it seems that you are a frequent visitor of xxx”. The main reason for this is that it makes less of a block to read, even more since the idea expressed in the first sentence is not really in the same category as what follows (it’s in fact explaing why the message is displayed, and what follows merely explain which actions are available). For the two other sentences, hard to shorten really, I admit.
    Yet, it could make sense to make the portion “disable addblock plus on” bold. Because essentially, if there’s one thing to remember from this message, it’s this section. And it stresses the fact that adblock will be disabled for this page only, not generally.

    Now, the buttons could be discussed too.I think the buttons could be organized like this: first “Yes please”, then “No thanks”, finally “What would it look like ?”.
    As for the ask me later, it is not needed (you can always click the red cross after all). The reason why I put “yes please” first is because in your current proposition, there is simply no such button ! Of course, you say it would be possible to say yes after seing the preview, but I think this is really annoying. I could bet nobody would make that effort. So in my opinion, the option has to be displayed first.

    I also read your answer concerning the color, and I understand that you cannot use the green for the reasons you gave. And yes after all, all tooltip bars in browsers are yellow (but perhaps the addblock icon should be more prominent, as it stands I could think it is the ie 7 bar for javascript blocking, it’s really similar)

    Anyway, nice to see this move which as a webmaster I can only praise

    Best regards

  134. LorenzoC · 2009-05-12 14:33 · #

    I see Wladimir trying to work around a contradiction.

    ADBlock aims to block ads. Technically, the more ads get blocked, the better. It is the purpose of the tool.

    Now we introduce the concept that not all the ads should be blocked because some are “less annoying” than others and “good advertisers” must be rewarded because the Internet cannot exist without advertisement. Logically the ultimate unsaid consequence of this concept is that blocking ads over the Web is wrong (given some conditions).

    The issue about most people not being able or not wanting to make choices (whitelisting some domains) IMHO is not the real issue here. We are discussing of a feature whose goal is to stop LESS ads in a tool that block ads.

    IMHO such a feature either works in reducing the amount of blocked ads and then annoys people like me (because it limits ADBlock) or does not work and then it does not make any difference besides maybe a little of politics.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Adblock Plus isn’t going to block fewer ads – unless that’s what the user wants. Which is the important point here.

  135. orabidoo · 2009-05-12 14:41 · #

    ehh? I posted a long and rather thoughtful message a while ago under this nickname, basically arguing that information bars that interrupt the user’s flow are a bad idea that people will hate and learn to ignore, but that the same thing could be instead put in the space on the page left by an ad… and my comment disappeared!

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I didn’t remove any comments on this blog post. Maybe you only clicked “Preview” but forgot to actually submit the comment? Anyway, it would be nice if you could post it again – unless what you wrote now already sums up your comment.

  136. JesseS · 2009-05-12 15:00 · #

    As others have pointed out, all webmasters would display this tag, as they (ostensibly) want their ads to be shown, else they would not have ads.
    Likewise, if I had any intention of viewing the ads, I would whitelist the site, end of story. Asking me if I want to whitelist the site would be annoying at best, as my implicit response by having not already unblocked that site, is an emphatic no.
    I like having a simple ad-blocker that just does that- blocks ads. If you want to further customize the whitelist feature, that’s fine, but if I wanted to see the ads, I would have whitelisted the site. Otherwise, I’ll just deny every time.

  137. LorenzoC · 2009-05-12 15:11 · #

    Wladimir, right now ADP allows the user to do all the necessary settings to blacklist and whitelist. Ok, now you can change it to make it easier and/or more evident for the user how to whitelist a site/domain.

    But IMHO this whole post is not about the feature or the user’s will.

    It is about your statement:
    “[…]Since the non-intrusive ads would be blocked less often it would encourage webmasters to use such ads, balance restored.[…]”

    So I guess the goal is not to give the user better options to configure ADP, it is about blocking some ads LESS OFTEN than others.

    Please note the difference:
    ADBlock is about blocking ads”.
    ADBlock is about blocking some ads”

    Of course here we are discussing about the impact that ADP has over the Internet.

  138. ABPuser · 2009-05-12 15:14 · #

    I don’t see the point of this at all. Adblock Plus asks me if I want it to display ads? Well… no. No I don’t. That’s why I installed Adblock Plus in the first place. The clue’s in the name. My answer will be no, every single time. If it was ever going to be yes, I would have whitelisted the site myself already.

    Time for a fork…

  139. Old Pultney · 2009-05-12 15:15 · #

    Firstly: Wladimir, thank you for making your potentially-contentious proposal public before implementation rather than just coding it. And also, thank you for proposing a switch to completely disable this system. Other coders could certainly learn a lesson or two from you.

    Personally, I don’t see the point of this at all. Ads are nothing but garbage. I never read them. I never click them. I don’t want to see them. Any of them. Ever.

    On the other hand, some people have bizarre attacks of conscience where they want to “support” sites by viewing pay-per-click ads. Weird, but true. (And I’m talking about users here; I couldn’t care less about webmasters. If your site won’t run without ads, just take it down. It’s clearly based on a faulty revenue-model. Or maybe, just maybe, you are obscenely greedy. The Internet was about free information once, and it will be again.)

    While many of the counter-proposals in this thread might sound great, they would—as you so rightly point out—be nigh-impossible to code, either due to subjectivity (what “annoyance rating” should that ad be given in comparison to this one?), or simply because it would defeat the whole point of the software (e.g. downloading all the ad-garbage just to see if the site has fewer than X ads.) So I guess your proposal is the best one if a person really wants to disable the efficacy of software design to block Ads.

    I would strongly urge you to make this opt-in rather than opt-out, though. I understand your rationale that most would never turn it on, but surely that’s a good thing. If people feel some responsibility to have their time wasted with ads, they can opt-in to do so on certain sites. But if it is on by default, it could spark another escalation of tactics by unscrupulous webmasters and the advertising industry. Remember: there’s a good reason why marketing and advertising are considered cut-throat industries—it’s because they are. And each one keeps pushing the envelope a little further each time. If lots of ad-blockers start being switched off on plenty of sites, it won’t encourage those sites to be “responsible”, it will encourage them to keep pushing to see how far they can go. And out of misplaced-“responsibility”, those with ABP installed might go along with them as the ads get bigger, animated, flashing, etc. At which point, greedy webmasters will say, “These ABP users have disabled the software on my site; we demand you do the same.”

    I can also see it being counter-productive on “irresponsible” sites. By giving credence to the myth that blocking ads somehow removes lots of revenue from a site, I can actually see that sort of distorted garbage being used in court to try to ban ad-blocking software, and/or label ad-blockers as “thieves”, as other mentally-deficient persons have tried in the past. “Your Honour, even the author of this ad-blocking software agrees that allowing ads on sites increases the site’s revenue…”

    Do they sound far-fetched? I am afraid I see these as very likely scenarios. Regardless, I respect your idealist idea that the advertising world can be changed, Wladimir. I just hope you do not end up too disappointed.

    Long live ABP!

  140. orabidoo · 2009-05-12 15:18 · #

    Eh, I must have clicked Preview and then forgotten to confirm. silly me.

    Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I sympathise with your idea of wanting to make AdBlock users more aware of what they’re blocking, and give them an easy way to be more selective about it, but I don’t think the two proposed changes (the meta tag and the question bar) are such great ideas.

    About the question bar, even if it only pops up rarely, this is just one more of the many things that more or less randomly pop up and interrupt the users’s flow on a computer. It’s a bit like the bad old Office paperclip going “It looks like you’re trying to write a letter…”, or like Vista’s UAC asking confirmation for the action you’ve just clearly requested. Users HATE these things, and quickly learn to dismiss them without even paying attention, until they get bothered enough to go and disable them entirly. And the fact that the bar is not entirly modal is not enough: it’s still something there that is actively asking for your attention, and won’t give you back your normal browser screen until you’ve made a decision and clicked on one of its options.

    The alternative here is to take a page from the FlashBlock extension, which replaces each flash object with a “play” button on a gray background. The thing 1) occupies no screen space of its own, since it replaces content that was already in the page’s layout, and 2) does not actively require a decision, since the default action is just not to click on it.

    For AdBlock, I would suggest creating a mode where the extension tries to find the biggest blocked area on the page (only among those ads that indicate the size without loading the contents), and in some cases (based on history) or even in all cases, display a subtle button there to show that some blocking is going on. Clicking on the button would give you the options to view the ads for testing, or to enable or disable filtering for that site.

    That would accomplish the same goal without interrupting the user’s flow. In fact, it might be simple and unobtrusive enough to just have it always there as a small notification that stuff is being blocked, without having to go into complicated heuristics with history or trying to second-guess the user’s interest in the site.

    As for the meta tag, I think this is a silly idea and quite a disservice to the web. Basically, the webmaster has already indicated that they want ads to be shown, by putting them in their markup. Anyone with ads on their site would want to put the tag on; why would anyone not do it? As much as we would all like AdBlock to spearhead a great wave of usability and restraint among webmasters… Have you ever seen a forum for (clueless) webmasters? It’s all about “paste this code in your pages”. And then the tag would remain there forever, wasting its own little share of bandwith for no benefit at all.

    Just look at the actual semantics of this tag as you’ve explained them: it would mean something like “I think you should really view the ads on my site even though you generally don’t like ads”. Quite silly really.

  141. Fred · 2009-05-12 15:34 · #

    And as the blog post clearly states – this feature will certainly be optional, you will be able to disable it if supporting websites isn’t your thing.

    The name of the extension also clearly states Adblock Plus.
    If I understand my terminology it blocks ads plus collapses elements and allows user to create filters on the go.

    Instead of making this part of Adblock Plus why not make a separate extension or filter that the user can choose to install or not. You have the Element Hider Helper with is a companion to ABP. This could be the same thing.

    I donate quite a bit to sites I visit as well as developers of software I use when they offer payment methods not dealing with Paypal which seems few and far between. That is the developers loss not mine.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    See my reply to comment 77 – this would pretty much defeat the purpose of this feature.

  142. Mandarinka · 2009-05-12 15:56 · #

    Yeah, I think this is a good idea.

  143. no name · 2009-05-12 16:48 · #

    I’m a bit concerned about the security issues here. See, my firefox is set to delete all the cookies/offline content/history etc as soon as I close firefox. In addition to that, I have my firefox executable embedded in a script that gets rid of all the flash cookies as well. The reason is that I do not want to leave any trace behind. Now if adblock plus starts keeping track of which sites I frequently visit, doesn’t that beat the purpose of clearing out all of my browsing history? Even if it isn’t web accessible, that history would be available on site, and that’s still bad enough.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    1) Adblock Plus isn’t going to start keeping track of sites – it is going to use the browsing history that is already there.
    2) Given that you don’t have a browsing history that feature will never be triggered for you (which is a good thing, see my reply to comment 21).
    3) Even where Adblock Plus needs to store a user decision it will use content preferences. Content preferences will be cleared along with your private data (Firefox 3.5 calls them “Site preferences” in the confirmation dialog).
    4) This feature should certainly not be triggered in Private Browsing mode in Firefox 3.5 – already because you cannot store a negative user decision then.

  144. flabdablet · 2009-05-12 16:49 · #

    Some websites are already doing that “with a bit of HTML”. But I think that this nagging causes a really bad user experience and doesn’t allow users to make an informed decision. Which is why I would like to provide a better alternative – one that wouldn’t ask you for a decision too often (once per week at most, likely a lot less often however) and that lets you see what you are agreeing to.

    If a website wants to nag its users to turn off their ad blockers, I’m sure that any halfway decent web designer would be able to design a nag that does less damage to the look and feel of their site than the Firefox yellow info bar.

    But that’s really a side issue. The main issue is that if web site operators think they’re losing traffic to ABP, let that be their problem. It shouldn’t be yours, and you shouldn’t be worrying about this.

    The simple fact is that ABP is not causing damage to anybody’s advertising-based business model, and the existence of ABP is not a threat to the Web As We Know It. Web users who are savvy enough to locate and install an ad blocker are, by and large, the same group who would never click through a banner ad: therefore, they are of no use to the advertiser. ABP is in fact doing both the user and the ad server a favour by avoiding useless bandwidth consumption.

    Advertisers are best served by selling ads on sites whose exposure to the ignorant horde is maximal, since it’s the ignorant horde that actually buys all the useless cruft that web advertisers advertise. Therefore, what an advertiser pays a site should be reflective of the number of clueless idiots the site attracts. The number of ABP users it attracts should be irrelevant.

    Sites like Kos that huff and puff about ABP users are effectively seeking to rip off their advertisers with inflated potential customer numbers. There’s no reason you should pay any more attention to their self-serving bullshit than you pay to mine.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    There isn’t much involved in installing Adblock Plus – clicking a link in a forum and then another one to install. Sure, many Adblock Plus users wouldn’t click on ads. But I am not convinced that it’s all of them (or even a significant percentage).

    I don’t think that Daily Kos decided to nag their customers just because they are stupid. I rather think that many of their visitors are indeed Adblock Plus users (far more than for an average website).

  145. IceDogg · 2009-05-12 17:10 · #

    Wladimir, thanks for your replies back on comment #3. Sorry much later on.. I had to be outta town shortly after that comment and just now getting to reply. I’ve read almost all of the post and of course your reply and this idea doesn’t sound as bad to me now as it did at first. Basically it’s just a more user friendly whitelist..which is something ABP already has.. so I don’t see much of issue, anymore. It’s still left up to the users and that is the important part. Thanks!

  146. fuckthis · 2009-05-12 17:21 · #

    There’s no way I’m ever installing Adblock Plus again if this feature is implemented, and I’m sure many long time users of the addon feel the same way. The question is, are you going to ignore your own user base and implement it anyway, or are you actually going to listen to the people who use your software on a daily basis? I’m guessing that for reasons you won’t mention publicly that you’re going to benefit personally from this “alteration.”

    Of course you’ll just deny that, so how about I give you a technical reason why this is a completely stupid idea. Remember Noscript? Yeah, that addon that actually disabled features of Adblock Plus? What’s to stop somebody writing an addon to exploit this new “feature” of yours by automatically adding to the list of “exceptions” any site that they choose? Nothing, of course.

    But by all means, feel free to ignore the community that’s built up around your software. They’ll create their own fork that functions similarly and abandon you for it.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am sorry, are you the community? There are almost 150 comments here – and most of the commenters are Adblock Plus users. There are those who are in favor of this feature and there are those who are opposed to it – but most took the time to take a critical look at my proposal and to discuss it rather than post insults. So far I didn’t ignore anybody, the whole purpose of this blog post is to hear the opinions.

    I don’t get your “technical reason” either. What is to stop somebody from writing an add-on that will go ahead and uninstall Adblock Plus? Or download a trojan and to turn your computer into a spam bot? Or format your hard drive? I don’t think anything can prevent it. But you are the one choosing which add-ons to install, so you can prevent such an add-on from being installed.

  147. argus · 2009-05-12 17:24 · #

    Why the hell would I want a box to pop up asking me if I want to display the ads on a site or not, exactly? I installed Adblock Plus to get rid of the ads. Plain and simple. If it ever becomes any more complicated than that I’ll remove it and never use it or any other software written by “Mr. Palant” again.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I don’t want to discuss the difference between a pop-up and a notification – but you might care about the future of the Internet and which sites will “survive”. I don’t think that answering a question once a week (at most, and it can be turned off as well) is a big burden for you.

  148. Arne · 2009-05-12 17:28 · #

    “changing the color of the notification” – or you could just change the ABP icon in the message to the green one instead of the red, maybe?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I think it would make it harder to recognize the relation to Adblock Plus – most users know the red icon if any.

  149. Farid H. · 2009-05-12 17:35 · #

    IMHO, this is a silly proposal. Websites could always nicely ask their users to disable ABP for them: with a carefully crafted text message. Users could then say: “okay, let’s support them”, or just ignore the message. Automating this with a meta tag is not the way to go. Please reconsider your proposal.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Please search for “Daily Kos” in the comments above – I think that letting the websites “solve” this is worse than just having this functionality in Adblock Plus.

  150. flabdablet · 2009-05-12 17:50 · #

    There isn’t much involved in installing Adblock Plus – clicking a link in a forum and then another one to install.

    You write code; I fix people’s busted Windows boxes. I think the computer users I encounter are more representative of the general population than yours, and most of my customers don’t know what a forum is.

    Adblock Plus is a wonderful tool. It’s good at what it does. It’s well designed. It’s the least-muss, least-fuss way to keep advertising out of your web browser. Installing it should be a no-brainer. It’s justifiably massively popular, and it’s no surprise to me to see you getting all sorcerer’s-apprentice and fearing that you might be Killing The Internets. But you know what? You’re not. Because outside your own sphere of experience is the unimaginably vast realm of The Clueless, and these people don’t even know that blocking ads is possible. Hell, most of them still use IE.

    Sure, many Adblock Plus users wouldn’t click on ads. But I am not convinced that it’s all of them (or even a significant percentage).

    Perhaps you could set up a quick informal poll here and see whose opinion is closer to the mark.

    It seems likely to me that Adblock Plus users have about as much influence on advertiser revenue as people with No Junk Mail letterbox stickers have on returns from direct mail campaigns: very close to none.

    The attitude common to both groups is that we don’t want to see advertising because it is useless to us. That being so, we are therefore useless to the advertisers. Excluding us from advertiser-visible website visitor numbers is as much to the advertisers’ benefit as it is to ours.

    No Junk Mail stickers haven’t killed direct marketing, and Adblock Plus won’t kill advertiser-supported web sites.

    I don’t think that Daily Kos decided to nag their customers just because they are stupid. I rather think that many of their visitors are indeed Adblock Plus users (far more than for an average website).

    Yes, and this is a problem for the Daily Kos, because its readership is, by and large, literate, politically aware and highly advertising-resistant.

    If you were to talk to actual advertisers, I am quite certain you’d find that their logs show that 10000 visits to the Daily Kos generates far fewer click-throughs than 10000 visits to MSN. This is purely because Kos readers will be, on the whole, less gullible.

    So Kos needs higher advertiser-visible visitor numbers than MSN would, in order to look equally attractive to an advertiser. My point is that in seeking to inflate those visitor numbers by encouraging his ABP users to turn it off, Kos is in fact seeking to deceive his advertisers – because the ABP crowd will show an even lower advertising response rate than the already-low rate from his general readership.

    Please feel free to produce actual numbers to refute this point of view. I of course have no actual numbers of my own to support it, but I really do think it’s unlikely to be too far wrong.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, I don’t see how I could get a useful poll done. I know pretty well what my forum visitors think on that matter – but you will certainly agree that they are everything but representative. Even if I would build a “would you mind taking a quick poll” question into Adblock Plus – the users who accept this question wouldn’t be representative any more. But that’s probably my best chance to get useful results.

  151. Ralph · 2009-05-12 17:52 · #

    It seems to me that you are caving under the pressure from advertisers. I am against all compromises. The current way the websites deliver their ads is completely unfair. It is like going to the mall and every store I visit asks me to go their advertiser’s store first (ads are served by different servers than the web server I connect), and then check my forehead if I was stamped or not (tracking cookies are stored in user’s disk without user consent). If they want to show their ads they serve them through their own web sites, just like every tv station, magazine, newspaper; problem solved. Alternatively, they can detect my Adblock Plus and refuse my connection with a notification, as simple as that. I just saved a current copy of Adblock Plus source code, just in case.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    You can get a copy of Adblock Plus source code for every single Adblock Plus release here:
    This isn’t going away. And neither is Adblock Plus ever going to take the decision away from the users.

  152. Farid H. · 2009-05-12 17:54 · #

    Yes Wladimir, I see the problem. But consider in differently: an inline text on the websites asking users to please disable ABP could also lead more users who were unaware of ABP before to actually give Firefox+ABP a try. Even if this message is often a rant, it will still tickle the curiosity of visitors. Hiding it in a meta tag may be too timid, and would deprive ABP of potential new users.

  153. Some Random · 2009-05-12 18:01 · #

    So, another meta tag? Standards are a good thing, I realise that the standard allows for meta tags, but these should be reserved for important uses. It just sounds like you are going to add another 42-44 bytes to every other HTTP GET on the internet, and waste i users * j installs/upgrade per user * k seconds worth of time, and a whole lotta internet searches working out how to disable this feature. I predict that this will spawn several extentions which are nothing but ABP with different defaults.

    I dont understand the idea of trying to reach an even ground between people not having content worthy of their cash and time, and those who wish to find worthy content? My general observations are that the web-page’s content quality is inversely proportional to the total filesize of the advertisements.

    This seems nothing short of crazy, and defeats the purpose of having an adblocking program. Indeed it seems not part of the core functionality of the add-on (allowing ads, rather than blocking them). Now if there were some way to re-enable scripts by users blocking scripts on ABP web-pages…. :)

  154. Yukeake · 2009-05-12 18:05 · #

    The only problems I see are:

    1) As others have already mentioned, every webmaster will add this, so its purpose will be diluted.

    2) Most webmasters aren’t directly in control of what ads they’re showing. They use a third party ad network (or more than one), which then serves up the ads. These networks are extremely inconsistent about policing the content they serve – generally only acting to remove ads containing malicious scripts after they’ve been distributed. This is the primary reason I use Adblock – to prevent that sort of content from getting to the computers I use in the first place. A webmaster using third-party ads isn’t going to have 100% knowledge of what ads he/she is going to be serving, so their “word” that they’re “not annoying” is unfortunately (through no fault of their own) worthless. IMHO of course.

  155. anonymous coward · 2009-05-12 18:19 · #

    Does adblock change the user agent string, or in any other way help me identify adblock users? It would be useful to me as a webmaster if I could provide a paid service for the users who don’t want to see ads, so they can help recoup the cost of creating and serving content to them. I’m reasonably confident that the people who take the time to filter out ads would be willing to contribute some reasonable amount of money.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    No, Adblock Plus intentionally doesn’t allow websites to detect it – to prevent the problem I describe in the first requirement for the proposal.

  156. james · 2009-05-12 18:20 · #

    as many have mentioned, “annoying” is subjective. i think you should make an attempt to come up with a rough categorization of ad types, e.g. popup, moving image, text only, flash, etc. then, the user can define which categories they find “annoying”, and the website can define which type they use. then, adblock could only ask if the site does not use ads which the user considers annoying. and, if sites lie about their ad types, users will just disable ads on the site (and the site will probably get some backlash from it).

  157. flabdablet · 2009-05-12 18:21 · #

    I know pretty well what my forum visitors think on that matter – but you will certainly agree that they are everything but representative

    There’s no way we’re representative of the general run of browser users, but it seems to me that we’re as good a sample as you’re likely to get of the ABP user base.

    Also seems to me that there’s a broad consensus here that takes pretty much the same view I do i.e. noooooo, Wladimir, it ain’t broke! Please don’t fix it!

  158. Teddy · 2009-05-12 18:35 · #

    If we do believe this:

    then round about 22% of all Internet users use a browser which can be modified to use ABP. Of those 22% a mere 5% actually use ABP (by your estimation), so round about 1.1% of all internet users are able or willing to install an ad-filter.

    This tells us two things:

    First, people are … forget the first one.

    Secondly, the impact of ABP on the honest and important ad-industry is less than 1.5% of their possible revenue. Hell, I guess most guys who run ad-servers destroy more business by sheer incompetence.

    Is there a good reason why to change this wonderful and working piece of software with something, most people would hate it for? It’s like making condoms and then punching holes into them …

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    As I mentioned in response to some comments above – yes, the effect of Adblock Plus on the web as a whole is still negligible (though constantly increasing). However, its effect on some sites with a particularly technically savvy audience is already considerable. And the number of such sites is only going to increase. Which is why I think that right now is a good time to start discussing solutions.

  159. offbeatmammal · 2009-05-12 18:38 · #

    @20 – there is already a pretty good solution for IE … it’s called ie7pro (also works with IE8) and can be downloaded – for free – from

  160. sky · 2009-05-12 18:43 · #

    wrt #44
    I have no idea how you would translate blocked requests into “money” – especially given that most of the time simply viewing ads is not enough, you have to click them as well.

    I can’t find a public report on current values (there are many private ones by Nielsen, etc.), but I bet some group of bloggers (e.g. the TechCrunch folks), would help you come up with a (monthly?) number. CPC pages would be multiplied by average click-rate (e.g. $1/click with .002 click rate = $0.002 per ad). I think even the roughest estimate would be helpful.

  161. JD · 2009-05-12 18:54 · #

    I dont use Adblock plus, and your probably asking what I am doing by commenting on here.

    Well, I run a small-medium sized site with 90,000 uniques a month with an 80%+ return rate. I display google adsense and ads from other networks.

    I will not be implementing this meta tag on my website despite how tempting it is to do so. The reason for this is that while I own the website, and its my right to put advertising onto it, it is also the technological ability of the user to block them (notice I didn’t say it is the right of the user to block ads, its their choice).

    Nor will I put up nag’s for money or donations or anything like that(I hate that more than ads). If people do not want to view advertising then that is fine, I have even told people how to install adblock plus. If my site can no longer support its self with advertising due to the excessive use of adblocking scripts so be it. I will have to figure out another method of monitization of content, which could include the complete restriction of content from the public domain(paid subscriptions and that is something I never want to do).

    As for a submitting a suggestion here is one. Why not have an online service that stores a users personal white list in the cloud so each time they install/reinstall firefox over multiple computers the user sees the notice even less?

    You could intergrate this into online bookmarking services, google bookmarks etc if you did not want to host it yourself. (Heck if a sites good enough to bookmark isn’t it good enough to view the ads on it?).

  162. Paul · 2009-05-12 19:05 · #

    I stand corrected. Nonetheless, I would no longer use an Adblock that asks me even once a week if I want to see ads. The entire point of an Adblock is, well, to block ads. Not to block ads 6 days a week and show them on the seventh.

    Adblocking is not rocket science. If this anti-feature is implemented, someone will make a new Adblock clone within days that always blocks ads, and most people will simply go use that. People subscribe to the feeds because they never want to think about ads, not because they want to be nagged to see an ad one day a week.

  163. Daniel Einspanjer · 2009-05-12 19:06 · #

    One quick follow up to Wladimir’s response to my comment #50 ( ):

    I fully agree that ABP should not overwhelm users with new customizability regarding this potential feature. I also think that the safest course would be to make it an opt in feature that is either offered on download/install or only in the preferences. But having a rich set of meta tags allows this solution to evolve if it is successful. It also allows other ad blocking software to use and build upon the solution. I think of it as an attempt to add semantics to a piece of the web that desperately needs it. There are a vast number of people who don’t care one way or the other about ads. There is a minority who are completely (even violently) biased against them. Then there is another minority that wouldn’t mind ads if they weren’t disruptive and were at least potentially useful. If we can target empowering those users, then maybe we’ll be able to convert members of the other two populations. :)

  164. gatzke · 2009-05-12 19:07 · #

    I will only stop blocking ads if the ads stop moving. There’s no need for them to be animated or flashing.

  165. Billy Joe · 2009-05-12 19:09 · #

    click the Textile Help link under the Message pane for how to format your comments.

  166. Ralph · 2009-05-12 19:14 · #

    Excellent post! Among all the obnoxious, intrusive, greedy businesses, I would definitely unblock your website.

  167. MMM · 2009-05-12 19:18 · #

    Vladimir where I completely disagree is the point of decision making whether advertising is annoying or not. I don’t think the webmaster should make this classification, but instead the filter list maintainer (see suggestion in post 128). It should fulfill your requirements and be less intrusive.

    Otherwise you open the box for cheating… and possibly have a dead feature in a couple of months. As others pointed out, webmasters using third party ad network can not be trusted, they are not in control of the ads being served.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The webmaster doesn’t make this decision – the user does. The webmaster only suggests that he has fixed the problem on his side.

  168. neddy · 2009-05-12 19:19 · #

    i would still block jd’s ads like all other ads.

  169. Jeff · 2009-05-12 19:25 · #

    Thank you for giving this serious consideration and thought Wladimir. It is nice to see a reasoned and thoughtful debate on the proper role of ad blocking software in today’s internet. The most interesting thing I see of this proposal is the notion that the webmaster is ASKING the user for permission to show ads.

    In a Utopian world, a savy webmaster noticing that their ad views aren’t as high as their page-views, and realize that their users are blocking his ads. After an arduous examination of the site and removing some of the really obnoxious ads (but the ones that pay the best), they ask for the users to return.

    In the real world, every “web site optimizer” or script kiddie will just blindly throw this tag onto the site. Sure they might loose their “one chance” with the user, but remember – these are ABP users already, so their revenue was already lost to the webmaster. However, the odds are that some (even if it is small) percentage of ABP users will be guilted into allowing their ads, increasing their revenue without reworking their webpage. Unless a very large percentage of their visitors are ABP users, they’re going to gain more from a few guilty feeling users and no change to the website then removing their most lucrative ads and maybe getting a very slightly larger percentage of ABP users back. This means the net change will be your ABP users will get annoyed 1 time / week with a plea from yet another website filled with ads, but little more.

  170. Richard Cunningham · 2009-05-12 19:26 · #

    Adverts don’t need to move or make a sound, whilst there is risk they will, i’ll still block them all. If there was an option to allow jpeg, png and text-only ads I’d do that.

    Having the browser send an advert preferences header would be good, so I could tell the site what type of ads I willing to accept (i.e. the afore mentioned png/jpg/text ads).

  171. BrooksT · 2009-05-12 19:27 · #

    Sure, it’s a simple and harmless solution. Also pointless.

    What purpose is this approach going to serve? Annoying, intrusive ads make more money for sites. If Adblock is used by 5% of users, and say 20% of those people actually agree to see ads on their favorite sites, you’re talking about a 1% increase in eyeballs for sites/advertisers.

    How much less effective are elegant, non-obtrusive ads? I’ll bet the difference is considerably more than 1%.

    So what you’ve got here is a solution that requires users to click “no thanks” on their favorite sites every now and then, or sites to forego revenue from the vast majority of their users so a small subset, probably already less likely to click on ads anyways, won’t block their ads.

    Yes, it’s harmless. Go for it. But it’s also pointless.

  172. Teddy · 2009-05-12 19:28 · #

    Referring to the answer of #158.

    As you write in the first paragraph

    In the end, the Internet does need money to run and ads are still the most universal way to distribute that money.

    This is totally true, I have customers who run community sites and earn money totally through ads on quite a large scale. Though, those are local sites, which have their focus on the rather … inexperienced user.

    Yet you write yourself

    However, its effect on some sites with a particularly technically savvy audience is already considerable.

    which points in the direction, that we’re not talking about the standard-honeypot-community-site for the computer illiterate.

    Could it be that for those very special sites the standard method of making money on the internet by just putting ads on front is the wrong way? Of course I’m also sad when a well known and liked business model dies, but you won’t save it by crippling your software.

    There is nothing more miserable out there than a crying webmaster, I know that, but still even though you really want to help those guys, you can’t save an outdated business model. If they don’t earn enough money by what they are doing right now, because the customers displays a very obvious and visual dislike of their methods, I don’t believe in the approach by preventing those customers to show this dislike.

    So, if they don’t find a better way of getting my money, then let’s get back to the well know world of neoliberalism and let ‘em go down.

  173. Abdul · 2009-05-12 19:33 · #

    ABP is great. It works great as it is. Your new proposal to be fair to the webmasters is totally acceptable. Sometimes even I feel like wanting to see ads, but then keep my fingers of white listing. I just have one request. How ever you would like to modify ABP to become a more fair add-on, please, keep the current version always available as an archived version. Because, every time a great simple/compact program (or as I’m afraid in this case with your great add-on), appears, every addition of new features added in newer versions, make one to start disliking the same. For it becomes not any more simple, compact and straight forward to use it. :)

  174. bob · 2009-05-12 19:34 · #

    No! Hell No! Dont ever implement this. I use this plugin to block ads, not annoy the hell out of me. If you implement this, expect someone else to copy your plugin and disable this effect each and every release. It makes no sense, capitalism is not going to succeed, its working for now, but its not the damn answer either (and neither is communism or socialism).

  175. Charlie Reiman · 2009-05-12 19:39 · #

    I’m sure this has already been said but here it is anyway. If you did this, all sites would simply add the meta-tag for all content. End users would then either disregard the meta or fork adblock to disregard the meta. You will have accomplished nothing except making ads even bigger since now the page download includes a meta tag that wasn’t there before.

    Getting ad support working to keep revenue flowing is a fine idea. I do disable ABP on sites I love. But involving the sites or advertisers in that decision will always come to the same bitter end.

  176. Jörg Hartmann · 2009-05-12 19:41 · #

    No more silly propriatary tag bloat, please!

  177. Erunno · 2009-05-12 19:44 · #

    Jesus Christ, it’s obvious that a rather large percentage of the people here either didn’t read or understood Wladimir’s proposal or his many explanations in the comment section. Talk about knee-jerk reaction. :-/

  178. chrisretusn · 2009-05-12 19:48 · #

    I use Adblock Plus to block ads. I dislike ads. I never click on ads so why should I see have to see them.

    I definitely do not want to be asked on sites I frequent if I would like to see their ads. My answer would always “No Thanks”. Having said that, I do have three sites listed as exception rules, but I took the steps to make those sites exceptions on my initiative, I do not want to be asked.

    On occasion I disable Adblock Plus just to remind my self why I use it.

    If this “feature” is included, fine. Just give me the option up front to disable it (do not hide it or make it obscure) and keep Adblock Plus as it is now.

    It also disturbs me that some apparently think that they have the right to display ads on their web site, but I do not have the right to block them.

  179. Elfriede Müsing · 2009-05-12 19:57 · #

    Think of this: “ads are still the most universal way to distribute that money (the internet needs)” only because they are still so easy to throw on most users. Do you really want to help this stay that way?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, I don’t see anybody stand up and suggest a better alternative. All the alternatives I’ve seen so far are significantly worse.

  180. Arne · 2009-05-12 20:19 · #

    All of you who still talk about “forking” Adblock Plus, how do you imagine that doing that, and then keeping it updated, would in any way be easier or better than using the regular ABP interface to simply turn this feature off? (permanently) – Please see the Update of point 1. in Wladimirs post above.

  181. mark · 2009-05-12 20:46 · #

    Why not just release another Blocking list which only Blocks intrusive Advertisers. So the Users could easily decide whether they want to Block all Ads, all Tracking, or only intrusive Ads.

    If that isn’t sufficient you could combine your Idea with mine. Using the “block all Ads” list on all sites, except it is getting whitelisted than the “block only intrusive Ads” list is used.

  182. Czernobyl · 2009-05-12 20:57 · #

    This is the most extravagant proposal I could imagine, coming from the revered author of the indispensable Adblock Plus !

    I couldn’t believe you were serious, at first (looked up the calendar, but no t’was not April’s fools day). Alright after reading the whole page (!) it does look like you’re being serious about that, so I don’t expect you’ll be moved in the least but let me hope you somehow get your right mind back – as though by Divine Grace – and agree that Adblock is there for a reason, to block adds, without conditions or caveats, and the – outstanding – extension you have made is called Adblock Plus, don’t turn it into Adblock Minus, please !

    Thanks for what you’ve done, don’t let yourself be fooled in thinking you owe anything to the marketting clowns.


  183. Gustavo Borjas · 2009-05-12 21:47 · #

    First i wanted to thank you for adblock plus. This extension is one of my favourites, maybe the most, and wherever i install firefox is the first one i install. I really doubt you got the time to answer all the posts here so i’ll try to be as minimal as i can. Sorry for my english but i’m from Venezuela and i don’t speak it very well.
    First why i love adblock plus. I love it because it brings me control of what i wanted to see, what i want to load, maybe you can’t see it at first but if wasn’t for this extension my loading times could be three or four times what it takes to load them.
    You’re right, websites need ads to keep them on air, but how much it cost? to me a lot. You’ll see in my house there are 5 computers, and at nights all my family is on the web. Our bandwidth is just 256 and it really help us your extension because the sites we all visit here in Venezuela had many many many ads and some of them are just a waste of time if you don’t hace this extension.
    Also this has a lot to do with web liberty. Are we free to see what we wanted to see? Are you helping us to be more free? Yes you are.
    Thanks for read our opinion, if you change you’re software i’ll still use it but i’m not going to see any ad and i doubt anyone will accept it.

  184. Wesker · 2009-05-12 22:16 · #

    Hi, thank you for your work on Ad Block Plus, it has changed the way I look at the internet in a fantastic way.

    But just for my two cents, I have always tried to avoid advertisements everywhere, I have stopped watching terrestrial television because of it.

    Webmasters should raise revenue another way, either through donations or merch instead of relying on the easy buck, which has made terrestrial television unwatchable and if webmasters get hooked on the advertising revenue, then it will effect certain things they can report on.

  185. Chris Wegener · 2009-05-12 22:21 · #

    I have followed the conversation with interest. I use adblock not to avoid the ads so much as to avoid the visual clutter and particularly moving or flashing images. I am very sales resistant and do not click on ads ever. If I am interested in a product I find the producer or distributor directly. On websites that provide information or software I like or need I try and make donations.

    I suspect that people may seek out Adblock plus because they cannot resist clicking on the ads. ;-)

    I suspect that I would like this feature if you simply implemented the frequent visit option and remember the result. There is no need for a meta tag. Each time I visit a site more than three times in a week show me the unblocked site once and ask if I want to continue that way (like choosing ‘disable on this page only’ or continue blocking.) If the webmaster is doing a good job and the ads are not obtrusive I would leave them visible, if not I would choose to continue to block them.


    p.s. surely there are worse fates in the world then being occasionally exposed to ads, even bad ones.

  186. Teoh Han Hui · 2009-05-12 22:25 · #

    Can you shorten the text in the notification bar? It will be less intrusive (and more effective) if it’s just a short and sweet reminder. Otherwise I don’t think this is a bad idea.

  187. tolljumper · 2009-05-12 23:07 · #

    Its a ridiculous idea. Sorry Wladimir but you are only a smaller part of a larger problem. Ad blocking is happening with or without you, you just added buckets of gasoline to the fire. Thanks to people like you the days of free internet are coming to an end and everyone is clamouring to find the next “itunes store of the web” You should all pat yourselves on the back, in 5 years we all will be paying for content, 2 cents per page. Just ask the newspaper industry.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Guess what – I did ask the newspaper industry to comment on that proposal. They didn’t see it all that negative so far.

  188. Shaze · 2009-05-13 00:00 · #

    To anyone arguing for the sake of advertising revenue, you can all suck the wrong side of my ass. I don’t care what you think this means for the future of the internet, and I don’t care if years from now you’re “right”; about anything.

    If for some stupid reason the Adblock Plus team fucks with it’s functionality in any way, I will disable it and install it’s replacement in all of the PC’s I service. An Internet without ads is like Socialized Health Care or Topless Wednesdays, no jackass is going to convince me of going back to the “old ways”.

    The way I see it, ads are getting worse and more intrusive every day. They are being embedded in flash, in media itself or are using innovative new ways to circumvent the current blocking tools. Consumers can now fight back, and resistance to this trend will only result in greater aggression and more ubiquitous resources.

    In summary Vlad, you can work with us or get forked.

  189. Quinn DuPont · 2009-05-13 00:03 · #

    I think you strike the right balance.

  190. WCityMike · 2009-05-13 00:40 · #

    You asked for suggestions as to a shorter message. I address my feelings earlier, but separately, on this issue, my suggestion would be to make it one sentence.

    “As is a favorite of yours, do you want to permit non-annoying ads in order to financially support its content?”

    That’s about a 37% reduction.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Thank you for a constructive contribution to the discussion. Unfortunately, “a favorite” is a very ambiguous term and likely to be misunderstood. Also, this way it suggests that Adblock Plus can block the annoying ads on the page while leaving the non-annoying ones – unfortunately, that’s not possible (yet?). Instead, the important keyword is “website owner” because he is the one who claimed that the ads are not annoying. I’ll try to reformulate this:

    As you visit frequently, would you like to disable Adblock Plus here in order to support it financially? The website owner indicated that no annoying advertising is used.

    This is still a little shorter than the original but not too much.

  191. Elfriede Müsing · 2009-05-13 01:28 · #

    Of course, there’s a far better alternative: just let advertisement die. There will be no need for it(s money) anymore.

  192. Ulli · 2009-05-13 01:53 · #

    I’m a webmaster and a user. I use Adblock all the time because I hate Flash and image ads. On my web site you’ll find only text ads (by Google). So, is it a possibility that the user can choose between 4 options:
    1) show no ads
    2) show onlx text ads
    3) show text and imagage ads
    4) show all kind of ads?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Unfortunately, that’s only possible by changing filters, detecting “type of ad” automatically isn’t possible. So in future there might be a filter list that will manage its filters in such a way that they can be assigned to categories like the ones you mentioned – but that will take time and quite some effort.

  193. mrbene · 2009-05-13 02:01 · #

    Using “favorite” implies that it’s in the users bookmarks. Maybe replace with “frequent destination”?
    There’s no consistent way to know what the ads will contain before they’re rendered. So ABP doesn’t know if the Google/Doubleclick iframe will contain their text ads only, or blinky Flash ads. This information isn’t available to the filters, and can’t be used to decide whether or not to show an ad.

  194. Rick · 2009-05-13 03:18 · #

    Your product is straightforward, intuitively logical, and it works. When you begin to compromise it you begin the tortuous path into the hell of trying to accommodate everyone. In the end you’ll find that the people that you were in it for at the beginning are the ones you’ll desert.

    The advertizers want your trademark, my friend. That is all.

  195. Mark · 2009-05-13 03:55 · #

    Your product already works – if sites don’t display intrusive ads, I don’t block them. Please don’t break AdBlock to allow webmasters to pester me further.

  196. T · 2009-05-13 04:07 · #

    Why the hell would anyone install ABP if they wanted to view ads?

  197. Mark · 2009-05-13 05:28 · #

    I think the easist way is give an option to web master and allow webmaster to block adblock users.

    It is a more fair choice for web master.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Didn’t I explain why that won’t work at the very beginning of my blog post?

  198. Mark · 2009-05-13 05:39 · #

    So, the meta tag will looks like

    <meta name=“advertising” content=“block” />

    The message will show: ‘The site owner don’t allow adblock user to see this site, unless you add it to whitelist or unistanll adblock’.

    That’s more fair :)

  199. Mark · 2009-05-13 10:08 · #

    “The user should have the final decision.”

    … Yeah, I saw that. But it is not a enough in your proposal.

    Add a “disallow” or “block” meta tag is more fair for web master.

    If you don’t want to support the site to keep alive and growth well, why the web master should allow your to see thier web site.

    Since they don’t get any member fee from user.

    Be fair. :)

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    and very soon users will be confronted with intrusive ads everywhere or locked out of all sites. At which point somebody will fork Adblock Plus to “make it work again” and we are back at square one.

  200. WCityMike · 2009-05-13 10:22 · #


    Basically, I think that as a prompt grows longer and larger, the chance of it being ignored by the user becomes greater and greater — and so slimming down the phrase so it is as short as possible is very vital for this idea’s implementation. Still, it’s a complicated idea. Here’s my latest attempt:

    “You visit often – turning AdBlock off just for this site could help it financially by increasing its ad income. The site owner says no annoying ads are used.”

    Buttons could then be “[Leave On]”, “[Turn Off]”, and maybe “[Tell Me More]” which could go to a more complete help page here on your site describing this element of the project and offering a FAQ.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I fully agree that the message has to be as short as possible (in fact, I said exactly the same in reply to some other comment). Unfortunately, it also shouldn’t leave room for misunderstandings (like give the impression that the user is pressured into something).

  201. DevN · 2009-05-13 10:22 · #

    Reply from DevN:

    No. As it is we can opt-in any website we choose. What’s wrong with that model?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The problem is that such an opt-in is already too complicated for most users. Don’t judge by yourself – most Adblock Plus users don’t have that kind of expertise. Judging by the forum, most people never find that option (or any other Adblock Plus option). Which is why a direct question is necessary.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “necessary”. Adblock works perfectly. Some tools do their job well enough in the background.

    If on the other hand you want to educate users to go and fiddle, then use other means, such as during install or after install, refresh people’s memories about features not readily apparent. Repeat the same after updates.

    For example, when I wanted to support ads for a nonprofit, I went in and enabled for that site. Clicked an add I liked and spent money as well.

    If the content is compelling, people will find a way to pay. If the advertising is relevant, people will find a way to work around adblocks. Looks like you are complaining about a perfectly working tool.

    By the way, thanks for the tool.

  202. WCityMike · 2009-05-13 10:34 · #

    “Unfortunately, it also shouldn’t leave room for misunderstandings (like give the impression that the user is pressured into something).”

    Do you feel this latest suggestion gives that impression?

  203. Mark · 2009-05-13 10:43 · #


    well, I convinced by your reply.

    Yep, that’s true. User can always to fork a new project to “make it work again”.

    But, maybe only a few users has the ability to fork a new project. :)

    And, maybe a few of the forked projects can be survive.

    I still believe adblock plus is the no.1 in ‘ads-blocking industry’.

    So, the idea still do-able. It also can be a standard for other ads-blocking software.

    It is more fair for both web master and user. They do have their favorite option.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    If Adblock Plus will “stop working” (and it will inevitably if we give webmasters a way to lock out Adblock Plus users), a fork is the logical consequence – because that’s the easiest solution for all the disappointed users.

  204. LorenzoC · 2009-05-13 12:19 · #

    Yet I do not understand WHY to add a “suicidal” feature to ADP.

    Ok, sorry, “sucidal” is a bit too much. The feature you explained is not going to make such a big difference.

    But at the end you want to make the ADP users to block less ads because you see ADP may hurt the advertising industry. So you want a tool that blocks some ads but not too many.
    It is like you intentionally design a gun so it misses some shots in order to not hurt too many people. Does it makes sense?

    On a side note, the fork is not that easy, see the old ADBlock that existed as “dead project” for YEARS before you came with ADP.

  205. John II · 2009-05-13 12:39 · #

    You take over this extension and continue to develop it to to block ads.

    Now you want to ask users if they want to block ads once a week.

    Don’t you think if the user changed their mind and wanted to allow ads they would simple whitelist the site or uninstall the extension?

  206. Euchre · 2009-05-13 13:28 · #

    This idea has some merit, although I think a few simple refinements are needed and some new questions are raised.

    For the matter of making the prompt a user controllable option, it’s pretty simple – add a ‘Don’t ask me again’ checkbox on the dialog. That’d work much the same as the security prompts and other functions seen in most browsers, including Firefox (and other Gecko browsers).

    What will be the point of this tag, though, if all webmasters just start sticking it on their pages? The aforementioned option will just become a standard response when the dialog first appears. That’ll be the end of the effectiveness of the option, and the removal of opportunity for fair revenue for worthy sites.

    What I think is really needed is a reasonable advertising standard for websites, including a reasonable basis for a site to require advertising for some or all content rendered. This standard should be in some fashion proposed to the W3C or some similar standards body. Simple ideas can apply:

    1. Ads should not disrupt the core content of the page; they should not make sounds, they should not obscure content, the balance of advertising should not exceed that of content on a given page.

    2. Ads should be relevant and suitable to the intended audience of the site; e.g. pornographic ads should not be on a page or site for a children’s game, conversely ads for a game intended for minors should not be on a pornographic site.

    3. Ads should never, ever, exploit, compromise, or alter a user’s system; or collect any personal information.

    4. The site owner must always take full responsibility for the advertising content displayed on their site.

    If there was such a set of standards, there then could be a method to validate compliance, and in effect certify sites as worthy of a default whitelisted status. Users could of course still electively block advertising anyway, but a fair chance would be afforded the site owner.

    Personally I allow or accept ads when a site hosts it’s own, unobtrusive, contextually appropriate advertising or when the content provided represents a unique value to me. The former is most common when a site sells it’s own ‘swag’, and a good example of the latter is

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    “Don’t ask me again” implies that “Yes, disable on this site” decision will be stored and applied by default.

  207. Another · 2009-05-13 14:05 · #

    At best the “ask” tag only has a transient period of success before it becomes ubiquitous and pointless.

    It is therefore not worth implementing it. Far better to, as suggested already, prompt to show “non-annoying” ads on frequently visited sites.

    In the whole annoying vs non-annoying ads thing – Adblock plus could easily decide that – text based ads are not annoying, flash and pop-up ads are. Or it could give users the choice “This appears to be a frequently visited website, do you wish to support it by allowing: ( ) all ads, ( ) all ads except pop-ups, ( ) textual ads only”.

  208. james · 2009-05-13 14:08 · #

    Hi Wladimir,
    i want to block all ads, i honestly don’t want to be pestered with such things, i was on your side when the noscript fags attacked you, please don’t change anything to help the advert industry, you’re still the man

  209. CC · 2009-05-13 16:02 · #

    remember the internet back in the 90’s there wasn’t every 2nd page full with ads. Websites did run like now. I’m not in the advertising business and if I can not effort from my own money the price for webhosting I use a free hosting without ads. So much about ads. Now we can block by rules in routers, firewalls system wide and in browser plugins.

    Thanks for the great Firefox add on, keep it up!

  210. Thorn · 2009-05-13 16:08 · #

    This comment was removed due to offensive language

  211. Odesse · 2009-05-13 16:48 · #

    I have the same meaning as # 182 Czernobyl

    totally agree with him!

  212. Joanne Mullen · 2009-05-13 17:46 · #

    As it’s clear you’re going to introduce this against the wishes of most of your users, what exactly is the point of this consultation process?

    When will you been implementing this change so I can avoid downloading the new version and stick with what I’ve got?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am sorry, where exactly did I say that I would implement it? I don’t know that myself – but you do? The point of this “consultation process” is exactly to find out what user’s wishes are. If you paid attention, there were different opinions on that matter.

  213. Mikhail Kashkin · 2009-05-13 20:35 · #

    Be a contributor to one of most popular addon give you too much authority. Why you deside to dictate rules to webmasters?

    My scenario is diferent. Use Adblock rules to every new site. If person visit site for second time, then user find it usefull. This case Adblock show all adv and ask block it or not in future if user dont want to support site author, optional send special code in request (for example “Adblock: on”.

  214. OlsonBW · 2009-05-13 21:41 · #

    Sorry but I’m not going to read through all the suggestions.

    You should be able to block ads by subject and/or brand.

    Such as, “car/truck ads – vehicle brand”.

    These banned ads should then never show up under any website. I should not be hassled about buying a certain product if I know I will never be interested in something like brand x.

    I also know that I will hopefully be a couple or more decades before I am interested in a male enhancement product or feminine products or … but those are just examples.

    I don’t know if ads for products/brands can be determined. If they can and an ad blocker allowed me to block things this way I might block a lot less things.

    I should also be able to “no matter what” stop ad animations. As I’ve told webmasters, if they have animated ads I will block all ads on their website. If they try to block me I’ll just login anonymously or move to another ad blocker if they block certain ones. Like you said, they will just be forked and it will be cat and mouse. If I don’t visit their website they won’t be able get money from ads from my visiting them. Same with me not being able to block or stop animated ones at the first frame.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I added a link at the very top of the blog post several hours ago, I suggest you have a look…

  215. NoTrack · 2009-05-13 22:30 · #

    ABP should remain as-is.

    The content pushed by 3rd party ad agencies can never be fully controlled by a site owner when it’s the 3rd party’s servers that send us things in a rotation.

    If the site owner really wants to insure “good” ads, then the site should itself be the one that serves the ads. In the background the site can pull random content from the 3rd party ad agencies, validate appropriateness (like no SWF, no PDF, no surprise IP, no IFRAME) and then send that to the user.

    The site is then taking real responsibility for the content instead of every one of the bad ones just adding a tag to throw off your scheme.

    ABP works because it helps avoid the no-accountability ad agencies that build a tracking profiles at the same time they’re dishing out crud. Web owners can (and should) change that paradigm any time they want.

  216. kirill · 2009-05-13 22:38 · #

    Please, let site owners decide if those X% visitors who block the ads among Y% of adblock users among Z% of firefox users who visit their website so important. If they want, they could block access to the site for the users who block ads. Or organize special ads-show session for them (means visitor should look at several ads before he will be allowed to visit the site). Or invent smth. special if they really care about that.

    And let you tool just do its work. Don’t try to invent another W3C. And please, don’t add another one yellow notification… it’s evil. Less evil than modal popup window, but evil anyway.

    P.s. sorry for my English.

  217. DevN · 2009-05-14 01:29 · #

    LorenzoC · 2009-05-13 10:19 · #

    …It is like you intentionally design a gun so it misses some shots in order to not hurt too many people. Does it makes sense?…

    Partly. It’s more like adding a few holes to a perfectly working bullet-proof jacket to appease the gun lobby.

  218. Alan Jones · 2009-05-14 06:00 · #


    I’ve got a couple of suggestions for this.

    The first is that it should be more than a simple metatag. There should be additional information provided which you have as classification for the ads. Things like text only, images, animated images, flash, sound and the percentage coverage. The last being the area relative to the content So if we had a 10,000 pixel site with no ads and including the ad content made it 11,000 then it should be 10%. They should also be able to embed multiple tags so that they could then provide only ads the user deems acceptable. For instance I could say that text ads with 5% or less coverage are ok.

    The second suggestion would be less useful if the first is implemented, but having statistics on what % of people accepted, declined, or reverted after seeing it with ads would be a useful guide as to how likely you are to find the ads acceptable.



  219. John Smith · 2009-05-14 06:46 · #

    The “Yes” option should NOT disable Adblock on the site. It should disable Adblock for chunks tagged as advertising. (Via a div tag in the body, not a meta tag in the header. You could have a meta tag describing the div tag in use, to allow flexibility.)

    So there’s a quid pro quo here: adblock will nag the user about advertising for your site IF you accurately label the advertising.

  220. gary · 2009-05-14 06:56 · #

    This “proposal” rewrites a well known saying to read as follows: If it ain’t broke, break it!

    Sorry, it’s a dumb idea. Period.

  221. Some Dude · 2009-05-14 11:34 · #

    As a long-time user of adblock plus (and adblock before that), I wanted to weigh in on this latest development.

    First, this proposed feature is redundant. Adblock uses blacklists and allows the user to add pages to a whitelist or add additional blacklists. The power, as you said, is in the hands of the user. This new feature does nothing other than annoy and nag the user about something they can already do if they wish. The apologetic descriptions of “it’s only a reminder,” “it’s only once a week at most!,” and “it’s there to ask people to reconsider blocking ads!” only restate that yes, you are considering annoying people with a message about a feature they can already use if they wish and make an appeal for users to do what YOU, the developer, want them to do — namely to consider unblocking ads for sites users visit frequently.

    This leads to my second point — This feature is not wanted by users. They are not clamoring for a feature to remind them they have a choice which they already know, nor are they begging for a feature to plead with them to reconsider viewing ads for sites they frequent. I imagine there are many reasons why individuals choose to use adblock plus, so I cannot claim to know their intent, but including a feature which asks the user to consider disabling the add-on for a site the user frequents seems counter to the point of the add-on itself. The plugin is supposed to give the user the power to choose what is blocked and what is not… NOT annoy the user with constant requests to reconsider options they’ve already chosen. (leaving the defaults as blocking pages is also a choice!)

    My third point is that it is annoying! Even if it’s only ONCE per web page ever and only ONCE per week at most… it’s still a “nag message” which encourages the user to consider disabling the functionality of the plugin. It’s annoying. The point of the plugin is to remove annoying things on web sites, not add more of them!

    This idea would be redundant, unwanted, and annoying. If this feature were included, it should be turned OFF by default and only enabled by a check box the user CHOOSES to check to enable it. This would TRULY put the power of choice in the hands of the user. To deny the user that right is to impose your will upon them. The only other honorable option would be to fork the code yourself to produce 2 separate plugins — an Ablock Plus and an “Ablock Plus with nagging reminders!” This would also give users the choice to decide whether they wish to have this feature or not.

    If you find these two options to be unreasonable solutions, then I suspect you either have chosen to impose your will upon the users of the plugin or a marketing droid has warped your sense of values to the point of caring about the web designer’s wishes over the users…. and if that’s the case, the code should be forked and a new developer should take the reigns of the plugin… one who is truly focused on keeping the power in the hands of the user.

  222. Billy · 2009-05-14 12:06 · #

    I don’t get this. Webmasters have ways of detecting when ABP is used. If they were worried for their loss of money, they could state it with a message in the their website for the ABP users (“please disable ABP for our website, our ads are clean, we need your support”). But they don’t. You are trying to do this yourself. Why??? THEY can do it!

  223. Billy · 2009-05-14 12:21 · #

    And to continue my previous message: how’s clicking a button in an annoying yellow bar much more easier then clicking “Disable on” in the ABP icon context menu?

    The way I see it: if a web site wants back users because they lose money, they should detect ABP, inform users telling them “click the arrow of ABP icon and select “Disable on blah”.

    If you want the user to think it over, the websites are responsible for this, they could change their ads and then change the message for ABP users like “We have made our ads cleaner, please consider whitelisting us in ABP etc”.

    ABP should not do this!

  224. mmmmna · 2009-05-14 15:28 · #

    As a web user since Mosaic 1.1, I have already given the webmaster EVERY first opportunity to control ads which they allow and contract with: they design their pages, not me.

    Hence, why I now REACT and elect to use Adblock Plus, to set my own limit: their ad volumes are too much for my tastes, and what’s more, today, privacy is being eroded by any ads which get DO into my systems (not that the websites themselves are innocent of tracking my web activities).

    Webmaster: I don’t want nags, popups, blinking icons, nothing, I don’t care why anyone else wants them, no matter if the cause is Adblock Plus blinking to alert me to relax the restrictions ‘just this once’, or if the reason is the ad itself. Don’t intrude into this users vision. This browser is my userspace, intended to serve joe consumers needs, I select the visual presentations on my screen, I pay for my bandwidth, I do not want to purchase intrusions; if anyone is to pay for web ads, the whole expense of advertising should remain the sole property of the ad services, they get enough money.

    Webmaster: the internet is a relatively new medium, I come to the internet to learn what I want to learn, and a lesson I bring to my surfing experiences is that I disliked television ads. Cramming blinking things into my field of view will lead me to turn away from the internet just as I am absent from being before the ‘idiot box’.

    Webmaster: with Adblock Plus, I am voicing my clear desire to be undisturbed by advertising in this new medium. With excessive advertising, the old medium (TV) is clearly failing to reach many of the possible audience (we’ve turned our attentions to the internet, remember?), and these same errors are repeating here on the internet.

    Webmaster: trust me when I say this: go with much fewer ads, maybe as low as 5% of the current volumes, and I might EVENTUALLY drop Adblock Plus (I’ll see any reduction when Firefox revises: I will have to suffer incompatible add-ons eventually); the span of time until I drop Adblock Plus is time enough to settle upon a business model that works for webmaster and advertiser. For webmasters, that means the newer contracts had better deliver 20 times the revenues, so you can reduce ad volumes correspondingly.

    Webmaster: that hints you’d better not take advantage of either the advertisers or us visitors. Adblock Plus has you on your knees, we hear you whining for mercy, and I see that. You do not have a guarantee that I will watch ANY ads: I pay the power bill where I live, I purchase internet access where I live, I select the browser I want, and I know where the power switch is placed.

    Webmaster: you need to stop abusing your visitors; if you want to succeed, then do the work which we come back for, make the kind of content that keeps millions of me, joe visitor, returning to your site. Go back to your advertisers and tell them to get smaller, and also pay more (you’ll need to figure out the details of just how to do that, but here is a clue: you will be taking more responsibility, so ask your advertisers that you must be paid for that added responsibility).

    Wladimir Palant and the rest of the team, thank you for being candid about the impact Adblock has already had, and thanks for Adblock Plus.

  225. guest · 2009-05-14 19:47 · #

    Congratulations everyone, facebook is rolling out micropayments in the next few weeks and most publishers can’t wait to join the subscription train now that facebook can be directly integrated with their site. Keep ad blocking, screw the ad industry, pay for content.

  226. LorenzoC · 2009-05-14 21:01 · #

    Now ADBlock is the scaring force driving the decisions of Facebook management and all those “publishers”, because it is killing the advertisement industry. – Hilarious –
    The day Facebook moves to a subscription service it is because advertisement pay too few money. Advertisement pay few money because there is too much advertisement on the Internet and people don’t pay attention to it. Right now the same advertisement can be placed on Facebook and on my own personal blog and other million like it. That means the value of the advertisement on Facebook is almost zero.

  227. tiik · 2009-05-17 01:37 · #

    will it be annoying that messages keep popping up?

  228. Qtpi · 2009-05-18 19:24 · #

    The main reason I use Adblock plus is to block out flash ads that get in my face, and to promote faster loading of sites. A simple text ad or link would be acceptable to me. If webmasters want to keep intrusive ads going, I wouldn’t have many exceptions allowed by such a feature.

  229. Sam · 2009-05-19 15:02 · #

    This whole idea is stupid.

    People who don’t like adverts aren’t going to click on them or pay attention to them, trying to force advertising to people who would otherwise block ads is a waste of time.

    The problem is that businesses who are looking to advertise do not differentiate between people who find ads “acceptable” and those who do not want to see ads period. In the eye of the business wanting to advertise all our view/click traffic is rated equally, irrelevent of how effective the ad was at “reaching” us, this is obviously a bad system.

    To me it just seems like a scam between the business wanting to promote their product and the people who provide the advertising. They’re essentially saying to us “please dont block our adverts, we want to sell your view traffic to a business to squeeze money out of them for somethat that is worthless”

    The advertising model needs to be revised, forcing ads on to those who dont want to see them, and then selling them views is a false economy.

    We all know it’s a stupid minority who click ads to buy things and that tiny minority causes absolute mass spam of the whole net just to catch these people, ideally it should be targeted at the idiots that encourage the behaviour and everyone else should have a pleasant viewing experience.

  230. Sam · 2009-05-19 16:14 · #

    Would a better solution to have the current system but someone start a new subscription list but have some form of quality control instead of outright blocking?

    A more complex form of this could be to add gradeing to the blocking lists between 1 and 10 of how obnoxious an advert is, 1 being subtle and 10 being worst.

    Then checksum the advert image/flash and store that against the blocked address, let everyone who subscribes to that particular list be able to cast a vote against that checksum.

    Then simply average all the votes for the list on the server side and give each advert an average vote between 1-10 and let the user pick a tolerance level between 1-10 when they subscribe to the list.

    Checksumming and doing the averages should be done once before the list is compiled for re-release.

    Then simply add a right click option to allow people to right click and vote for each advert.

    You’d only need a handful of votes before you get a good average, you might need to have some kind of username/password and registration for the list to help stop potential poisoning etc, but thats only to be expected with this sort of set up.

  231. Sam · 2009-05-19 17:26 · #

    Also one last thing (having read others feedback)

    You say once a week is not a big deal for most users, why not put your money where your mouth is? Ad another option in the message that pop up on the screen, a “disable this feature” button.

    If its REALLY honestly not irritating, then people will continue to use it. If it does irritate people then they can disable it.


  232. Diggum · 2009-05-20 04:56 · #

    I’m tired of this “discussion“and people interested in furthering it. Adds suck. They have ruined the internet by cluttering it with unsightly billboards that often take up more realestate than the actual page content, and have ushered the way in for media conglomerates to try their hand at monopolizing various ‘sectors’ of the web at large.

    We use Adblock plus as a means to say “knock it the hell off”.

    New paradigms take time to smooth out and there is a long road ahead. But we must not pander to those who wish to use the www as their own personal financial capitol at the price of free speech. You have a right to say basically anything. And I have a right to not listen.

    Deal with it.

  233. wetelectric · 2009-05-20 16:08 · #

    No I really disagree with this proposal. There is a white list function for websites I want to ‘support’ via ad-clicking. This is good because I as a user choose to opt-in. Having something appear on my screen asking me to accept an advert (as if I have a moral responsibility to) is intrusive. I also shouldn’t have to change my settings to accommodate the poor business model of certain websites.

    The default install of the extension should block ads, silently. If I wish to support a site I will add it to the white list.

    On another note:
    The implicit notion (from a few of the comments here) that ads are the only way to support certain websites is a myth. Also the implicit notion that the web would ‘die’ without advertising is a myth.

    Love the extension :)

  234. Author · 2009-05-24 11:05 · #

    I think most can agree on the fact, that Adwords ads are non-intrusive. Would it therefore be feasible to display these ads by default, without an option to deactivate them?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Definitely not. There are many people who consider AdSense too intrusive already.

  235. Brian · 2009-05-28 03:30 · #

    If you start doing this, I will immediately uninstall your extension the first time a website asks me to view their ads.

  236. dinog · 2009-05-29 17:31 · #

    My Policy: If you block adsense on the site you can’t view main contains(my efforts) :D

    Adblockplus is pain in ass for website owners! …By default ads(revenue)are blocked!

  237. voter · 2009-05-31 01:46 · #

    I think this is a good idea

  238. John Rowell · 2009-06-07 08:41 · #

    If there is some way to block those annoying and dangerous animated flash advertisements, popups, and scripted dialogs – but leave the rest of the ads alone – I’d be happy! Unfortunately it seems it’s either all or nothing :(

  239. Tino Zijdel · 2009-06-08 03:39 · #

    I’m slightly in favour of such approach. Just slightly because I’m not sure if this will give enough leverage to site-owners to convince the advertisers to stop pushing obnoxious formats. At this moment the advertising-market is just poor, so site-owners just have to put up with anything advertisers come up with (and that ain’t pretty), or perish.
    There isn’t any real (realistic) alternative for most site-owners to earn an honest living out of the work they do. Most people on the web tend to think that everything should be for free. If that were the case, who would like to repaint my house, for free?

  240. Dom · 2009-06-10 05:42 · #

    Great idea.

    However, with people with the philosophy of 236, would there be an option to NEVER ask on ANY site in the options?
    For die-hard adblockers, there should be.

  241. Dee · 2009-06-12 05:42 · #

    here is what i think you should do make ad block plus only allow Google ads this way the webmasters make money off Google ads so the webmasters are happy,the ads aren’t bulky so the user is happy,businesses get their product out there so they are happy,and Google makes money in the process,so everyone is happy no harm no foul and ad block is still effective (as long as Google isn’t tempted to make their ad’s bulky and slow)

  242. Ralph · 2009-06-12 07:01 · #

    I never go on line to see advertising. I always go online to find information, to educate, to entertain. Just like the mute button on my tv, I feel no duty whatsoever to look at advertising I don’t want to look at. I pay a very high price to have access to the internet. If there is someone who believes they have a right to make me look at advertising, talk to Comcast. They are the ones I pay for access to the internet. And yes, beside using Adblock Plus and the mute button on my TV, I also hang up on telemarketers and delete spam without looking at it.

  243. Buk · 2009-06-18 10:09 · #

    I don’t believe the people operating these web pages have any say in the matter. They are permitted to put whatever content they please on their sites. I should have every right not to view any aspect of it I do not wish to. If they want to block users like me from visiting their sites, that’s just fine with me too. I really doubt that there is any content on any one site that can’t be found somewhere else on the web. Everyone now a days has the attitude like Microsoft where they want to control how their software is used, how many times and on how many computers, etc..etc.. Web masters want similar control by dictating to is viewers what they must view. Waaaaaaaa! If they don’t like it then take their web site down all together. That would be their choice. Mine is to be able to control what I must view. I too mute the sound on my television during advertisements or turn the channel. In my car I turn the channel on my radio or start up a CD. I haven’t heard of any of the networks crying about producing televisions or radios that prevent you from turning the station or turning the power off during advertising. The people operating these web sites will just have to figure out some other way to make easy money and stop crying about a piece of software that not everyone even uses.

  244. blake · 2009-06-22 03:15 · #

    I would allow ads on pages that I visit often if it would help the people who create the pages. That seems like a good idea to me.

  245. cipher signal · 2009-06-24 10:29 · #

    i have just installed adblock plus. thankyou soooo much for your excellent work :) i just wanted to let you know that you have rescued me from internet hell!

    this feedback may not say anything new but i wanted to express my appreciation…

    for me it’s not a matter of intrusive vs non-intrusive ads. (altho those crazy blinking ones are spectacularly bad!) it’s about the increasing ubiquity of advertising on the web. i am so happy & so grateful that i can now filter everything.

    i avoid advertising as much as possible in all forms of media. it’s like air or noise pollution, there’s nothing good about it. i don’t watch commercial television or listen to commercial radio or read commercial news. (because the content is stupid, boring &/or offensive & the ads are toxic) because of the nature of the web it’s much harder to manage your exposure, you never know exactly what you’re gonna get when you follow a link.

    those user targeted text ads are just as problematic as the big blinking ones. i look forward to now being able to enjoy using gmail again without all those ads in my inbox. someone might argue that they aren’t intrusive, coz they’re text-based & filtered to suit my interests. but how do they know i’m interested in shopping at all? i’m not. but there they are in my inbox, reading my mail & deciding what i might like to buy. that’s what i call intrusive!

    & then there’s those neat little ads on google that aren’t graphically intrusive but they are psychologically evil. they lock onto your search criteria & make themselves look like they have just what you’re searching for. but all they lead to is: more ads! argh! would you trust a webmaster that includes that sort of advertising to tell me the truth?

    i think you are providing a fantastic service. i understand you have to find a way to keep it working but why not build an anti-advertising movement online. start networking & get a big enough slice of firefox users to encourage web developers to think differently about how they run their e-businesses? if there’s enough of us who stand up & say ‘YA BASTA! this is not the web we want to live with!’ maybe we can create a culture shift. forge out more ad free spaces on the web, where we can all breathe again.

    thanks again :)


  246. Hmmm · 2009-06-27 19:25 · #

    Well, here’s my 1 cent. I hate ads… well most ads. I don’t mind a few test based… like one fellow mentioned, old timers aren’t hip to the blinking noisy garbage that a lot and more every hour are putting up. I don’t mind small ads that give me the option to play a video commercial but most just start playing and that is annoying as heck. I usually am on the computer either for work which means I’m going to ignore any ads outright or I’m there for relaxation again meaning—I don’t want to be bombarded with ads that take away my relaxation. Mostly those are the noisy, video or overly large or pop-up or over or under the page that force me to find a way to turn it the heck off. I suppose we’ve gone too far into the darkside to go back to text only ads. Those I’d probably read if it was something I was truly interested in knowing about or a small optional video that did not immediately turn on.

    To my suggestion not that my rant is over… what about a way like interclue to preview the ad? This way you could see if the ad was of interest, not annoying, and was on a site that would otherwise block you. This would give the user the choice if they thought whatever the ad was worth the time to allow it to get to the page. You could include in the preview something like video/no sound/no blinking or text with video and sound/size 100×150 etc. I’d like something like that for sure. It’s how I read my news a lot. I click the interclue icon and see what the story is about and then if it peaks my interest—I open the page if not I move on to the next and so on.

    Oh and to turn ABP on and off I don’t have a middle click button, is there a way to redesign it to be a right double click or something like that? I know you can right click and then check the option but it’s a bit clumsy for me.

    Thanks, Hmmm

  247. thewebmaster · 2009-06-27 19:57 · #

    Removed for inappropriate language. Please come back once you are ready to contribute to the discussion.

  248. Ken B · 2009-06-28 15:58 · #

    Mr.Palant: Your blog is not boring. It took me along time to move to Firefox out of fear what it might do, Last week I took the dip and will not turn back now. Your Ad-Block is the only ad-on I have installed and it made Firefox even 1000 times better. I would not trade it for the world. Web pages are worse then TV. 90 percent ads 10 percent content. These ad people must know by now that when your hit with that much it turns a person off. I know where to find anything I need so I do not need them trying to ram it down my throat every page. What your program does is take the web back for the user and I thank you for what you do. Ken
    PS hope it still works with 3.5 im sure it will. two days to go.

  249. damadtech · 2009-06-29 21:53 · #

    Wow, that was a lot of reading so far. Just referred on a forum to use your program and here I am. Personally, I wish to thank you for writing something I don’t know how to that solves one of my biggest beefs with the web.

    Here’s the way I see it – Mr Webmaster, you want to keep me off your site because I don’t want your crap all over my screen flashing and beeping and detouring me from what I’m after, freaking block me because of adblock or not accepting cookies. Break my heart boyz….. there are many more sites offering the content one way or the other. Where I go is none of your business. What I like is none of your business. You might think it is, but it’s not your call. I retain the right to control my surfing and you need to get over it. I refuse to use Google because of the ad placement for paying websites INSTEAD of the best choice for the data I need. And, I get by fine using other, smaller search engines but that does require a bit more time and diligence which most folks are too lazy to try. Oh well……

    The sites that I choose to support for ongoing quality and service receive monthly donations – some by PayPal subscription and others as I use them or as I can. Mostly because they provide a service to me, my donations kill the ads on many, donations give me privileges I like, etc. AND, because I DO NOT EVER CLICK THE ADS!!!! I refuse to click any advertisement/banner for any reason on ANY webpage and I get along just fine. I record TV for later viewing just so I can zap those darn commercials on it too! They’re as horrible and stupid as internet ads.

    Thanks for a program that fills my needs and to heck with them if it hurts their little tooties! They don’t care if they intrude on me or infringe on my desires, so I see this program as a taste of their own medicine. It sure doesn’t go down too well now does it! Keep it easy to use, block the hell out of everything that flashes, beeps, moves, etc and I’ll support you, your site and software! You are my new hero…… lol

  250. ComputerGuy · 2009-07-01 09:17 · #

    I think a metatag is the wrong way to go about asking these questions. The best option would be if a user ad review site was linked with the Adblock addon. When a user visits a site for the first time, the question bar will show up and a rating will be assigned to the site based on previous user reviews. The user then can decide how they will proceed. If they choose to allow ads, they are given a option to give a rating and hide the bar or block the ads. If they block the site without given a rating, they will not have any effect on the rating of the website. Additionally, an extra option should be available to advanced users who want to give a detailed description on why they chose their rating. Web masters could use this site to better accommodate their users and users could use this site to make better ad blocking decisions.

  251. Erin Comer · 2009-07-14 14:35 · #

    Personally I don’t give a damn what Webmasters think. ALL advertising is legalised, obnoxious crime.
    Get rid of the lot of it and disregard any complaints from the con merchants who supply it.

  252. Mike Rosoft · 2009-07-15 01:41 · #

    This proposal is completely misguided. It basically amounts to the browser displaying a message: “This website contains ads. Do you want to view them?” No – that’s why I installed AdBlock in the first place, and give me a break! (As multiple users have noted, if this misfeature were implemented, everyone could have included the tag “our adverts are not annoying, honest” on their site, defeating its purpose.)

    The proper solution could be to maintain a separate, less inclusive filer for users who don’t mind viewing a limited amount of advertising on pages (if that’s feasible). I have every right not to view any (and even if I were forced to view them, the chance that I would have bought anything from the advertised website is about nil). Likewise, I can turn down the volume and/or leave the room when there are adverts on TV (or record the film on video and fast-forward through them); and when I do, the TV station has no one to complain to, even though they make money from the advertising.

  253. Adrian · 2009-07-19 12:41 · #

    I guess your profession is marketing manager of a big company who is less charmed by Adblock as time goes by

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Insults will certainly not help your cause, how about trying to be constructive? Note that I never kept my associations secret – I am currently employed by TomTom and my job has nothing to do with advertising. Which you can easily find on Google or by searching this blog (

  254. Justin · 2009-07-24 00:42 · #

    This is a long comment thread, and I hope I’m not wasting time by saying somethign that’s been dealt with.

    I’d like an option to have adblock plus default to being disabled on all sites. I actually find that the majority of sites I frequent have well behaved advertisements (a lot of them are on the deck network, or similarly well behaved advertisers). So I find myself manually disabling adblock on a great many sites.

    I keep adblock for the minority of extremely obnoxious sites that I want blocked. Perhaps this is irrational of me, and it’s not worth the work to disable adblock on so many sites. I suspect there are not many users like me, but it might be nice to have an option for those of us who are not bothered by mainstream (or high quality) advertising.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This is already possible and has been discussed in the forum. I cannot find the forum topic but you need to add the filter “@@*$document” which will add an exception for all sites. Whenever you encounter a site where you want to block ads, click the ABP button in toolbar, right-click “Whitelisted page” text and select “Disable this filter on”. Ads will be blocked again on that domain then.

  255. Geir Olsen · 2009-07-27 12:53 · #

    This looks like a good idea. But i agree with a user above; If you block adsense on the site you can’t view main contains:D

  256. Bob Sherunkle · 2009-08-06 13:37 · #

    I think you are starting from the wrong place. When I started using the net there wre no ads, no “interstitials”, no marketing blogs, no exploitation of content to sell adspace.

    Adblock returns me to a place where I get the information without the advertising. If the content creators want to make money off of thier websites by putting ads there well, so be it. I choose to ignore thier ads.

    The argument that content has to somehow be paid for otherwise it will cease to be created is the same argument used by Bill Gates in his open letter to the softwre community in the 80’s saying that unless people paid for software nobody would develop any. We now see his argument is wrong, in the same way that content creators somehow have a right to assault my eyeballs with rubbish so that they can make money as thier primary motivation.

    No Thanks, and thanks for Adblock.

    As to your idea of letting people opt in for advertising on a site, I think its a good one, if you can convince them to do so, great!

  257. Seth Wisely · 2009-08-09 03:43 · #

    [Wladimir, blog: ADP blocking] “my goal with Adblock Plus isn’t to destroy the advertising industry”

    My goal is to not-see content I do not want to see. That will not destroy an industry. I do not want to see lasciviousness, carnal concupiscence, dancing monkeys, seizure inducing flicker, or content not related to what I am seeking.

    I have zero tolerance for malware launching platforms in browser, abuse of java- or javascript over riding my desired experience.

    Enter CAPS: firefox Security Policies

    I decide, as sole arbiter of what I will see, which features of javascript I shall allow and which features (methods?) of javascript I shall disallow globally- or on a site by site basis.

    CAPS sadly is underdeveloped in firefox extensions land. There is one extension still trapped in the AMO sandbox, and there’s Controle de Scripts, but its CAPS gui leaves much to be desired. (@Wladimir: next project perhaps?)

    “showing ads” is not a business model.

    If the content has value charge to see it. If no one wants to pay it’s not worth much. The content is clearly not compelling enough to the potential viewer.

    There is no covenant between a member of the surfing public and the site. For this and other reasons there is NO theft when the user only renders content HE desires in HIS browser using HIS bandwidth. The user does have a covenant with his ISP.

    There was an excellent series of posts to which I oft referred on the now defunct CastleCops forum:

    ‘defective business model’

    [Wladimir, blog: ADP blocking] “give control back to the users”

    Users always have the control. One must assent to be governed. I do not give that freely, and certainly not to the irrational (those who errantly believe adblock is illicit)

    [Wladimir, blog: ADP blocking] “users can theoretically choose not to block ads on some sites”

    I routinely whitelist certain open-source project I enjoy if and only if they are not displaying flash ads.

    [flashstorm, topic 3907, p26161] “they are using my content in a way I did not intend it to be used”

    If I buy a toaster I am not compelled to use only bread products inside it. I am free to modify it to cook fish or make popcorn. There might be restrictions on my resale. But in the content case I am neither redistributing- nor reselling.

    I am free to use products in ways other than intended. Welcome to America.

    [flashstorm, topic 3907, p26161] “developpers [sic] of ABP make it somehow available to webmasters a method of ‘denying’”

    No, thanks, you can make it clear to your viewers and should they agree then good for the TWO of you. You want to opt-out of adblocking. I want to opt-out of viewing undesirable content. Again this is your defective business model. You are completely capable of enabling at the very least BasicAuth on your site and charging users to view your content. Why don’t you?

    [flashstorm, topic 3907, p26161] “ethical problems”

    Your desire to inflict use case upon me is irrational as best. I am not behaving illicitly by not kowtowing to your desires.

    If however I were to crack your password table and circumvent your BasicAuth that’s another issue entirely.

    Go ahead and try to block adblocking-users. You will accomplish two things: you will likely lose more viewership than you gain, AND your site will become an entertaining hobby for those who delight in circumvention for its own sake.

    This takes us back to you having NOT established a contract with viewers. That you do not want to understand the fundamental nature of the web is an issue for you and your mental health provider.

    meta name=“advertising” content=“ask”

    Another extension will popup and scrub out the tags before ADP acts on them.. or ADP will be modified to ignore them. I certainly would modify ADP. Naturally I would not redistribute ADPnoprompt without permission.

    [Wladimir, blog: ADP blocking] “Adblock Plus will then check the browsing history”

    At what cost to MY resources? time? CPU (electricity isn’t free)?

    [Wladimir, blog: ADP blocking] “No, I don’t like this.”

    I don’t like this already. slide-downs are already annoying. If this happens with great regularity it would be as annoying as ads themselves. I’ll need a “stop showing messages like this” option. This will leave others free to continue to tolerate invasive slide-downs if it doesn’t bother them.

    I shall want fine grain control of what is to be allowed.

    I certainly don’t want to allow flash ads, or third party (large scale privacy violation)

    [Wladimir, blog: ADP blocking] “criteria for acceptable ads”

    The objective standard is “do no harm” to the user. Further do not provide a vehicle for potential harm. The subjective standard is content I find objectionable. I find all GeoIP advertising objectionable especially those along these lines: “hookup now with someone in [your city]”.

    It is not acceptable to use the underlying ad network to profile my activity across domains.

    ISPs have the opportunity to make an extra few cents per user by allowing me to opt-out of location specific NetBlocks. I would want to set a privacy flag with my DHCP server from the ISP to hand out an IP address that does NOT reveal my physical location. This does not give me license for illicit actions but let’s ME decide if I want someone to know what city I live in.. or what city block.

    Privacy is essential to free exercise of liberty.

  258. Rigel · 2009-08-20 14:12 · #

    I stopped reading the feedbacks at about number 60ish so I don’t know if someone has already said this:

    First of all we must face the fact that we are dealing with an evolving being that is the internet, and the way advertising has been working has to be rethought because of addons like adblock.

    I’m a long time and very happy user of this addon, I think my user experience of internet has been greatly increased by ABP, but I do understand the problem that is at hand.

    I think this solution is very possible and can be improved, I’m thinking of something like Stumble upon does. After seeing the webpage with ads, you get to either “thumb up” or “thumb down” the resulting page (with the option of thumbing it down afterwards and blocking the ads if they become intrusive). this way, you reward the pages that are doing a good job at keeping the ads unintusive by prompting the ABP user earlier, or even by giving a user rating of “use of ads”.

    just an idea.

  259. analogstuff · 2009-10-06 14:06 · #

    I have read all the comments so far #258 i guess, and what i could not figure out is whether the proposal what you made to use the meta tag:
    <meta name=“advertising” content=“ask” />
    Is currently working or not?

    If not is there some thing already implemented so that webmasters can make use of that code: It might not be meta name, can be something else. I am not sure much about coding but in one of the websites i visit regularly i will get a message that dear adblockplus user,please disable the same to use this website.

    Any ways this a great idea which can help some poor webmasters with some extra bucks in these recession times.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    This suggestion hasn’t been implemented yet. For now I didn’t even have time to do the poll which will hopefully show how Adblock Plus users stand with all this.

  260. Wallord Sprinles · 2009-10-14 21:40 · #

    As it stands, users can not access my content until they generate a commission for me. Adblock simply confuses the users of my site because they can not see the surveys that they are required to complete before I allow them to create an account.

    Adblock is easy to install, but adding my site to the whitelist has generated many support requests from confused users. This is creating an useability issue. I propose that the meta tag should allow me to ask my own question instead of the goofy one you provide.

    More and more I am leaning away from providing a note about adblockers on my site. Detecting it and forwarding the users to a video tutorial seems like the best solution.

  261. Richard Butt · 2009-10-22 00:28 · #

    I just don’t want to see ads, period. I don’t give a shit about their revenue, just like people don’t give a shit about pirating music. They want it free and easy, just like i want my web experience. Maybe changes need to be made on how websites make money, not on how they go about promoting what they do to obtain it.

    users choose or websites lose, huh?

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